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The Lewis H. Beck Foundation 

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SERGT. CO. H, 40™ REGT., N. Y. V. 







For quite a number of years I have been requested by 
my friends, especially by my niece, to write an account of 
my experiences in California and the War. I have not 
done so until quite lately, however, since I have not been 
accustomed to writing. 

Most of the following pages have been written during 
the last few winters, when I have been compelled by the 
severity of the weather to remain in the house. The more 
I have written, the more I have become interested in the 
subject, and I have found the work a great deal of com- 
pany, especially during the cold winter season, when I 
have had much leisure. 

My sufferings and sacrifices for my country must be my 
apology for intruding upon the kindness of my friends. 
Then, too, I have hoped that my travels and adventures, 
which are perhaps out of the ordinary run, might prove of 
interest to many. 

The idea of writing a book was partly suggested by a 
pamphlet I saw a few years ago, written in memory of a 
friend of mine, who lost an arm at Gettysburg, and died 
shortly after the War from the effects of the wound. At 
first my purpose was simply to commit to writing a few 
facts of my life, somewhat after the manner of this pamph- 
let ; but one thought suggested another, until finally the 
following pages were written. 





Description of different routes to California. Start for 
California. First night on board ship. On the wide 
ocean. Sea sickness. Near the Bahama Banks. First 
stopping place, Kingston, Jamaica. Description of Jamaica. 
Arrival at Chagres. Journey up the Chagres River. 
Arrival at Gargano. From Gargano to Panama. Descrip- 
tion of Panama. On the Pacific Ocean. Ocean very calm. 
Whale ship spoken. Steamer stopped for what was sup- 
posed to be a wreck. Arrival at Acapulco. On shore for 
dinner. A person found destitute and provided for. 
Leave Acapulco. Arrival at San Francisco. Take a 
steamer for Sacramento. Take another for Marysville. 
Letter sent home. Start for Nevada City. Arrival at 
Grass Valley. 



Description of Grass Valley First work done in Cali- 
fornia. Trees blown down in Grass Valley. Stop mining 
and go to work by the month, at one hundred dollars 


and board. Wages reduced. At work for eighty dollars. 
Mining very uncertain business. At work for the Day 
Company. At work splitting shingles. At work sinking 
shafts by the foot. Famine in Grass Valley. Men arrive 
in Grass Valley destitute. Grizzly bear killed between 
Grass Valley and Rough and Ready. Provisions arrive. 
End of the famine. Mills at work. Business good again. 
Indians of Grass Valley. Indian fandango. 



Grass Valley slide. Eureka slide. Grass Valley ravine. 
Boston ravine. Woodpecker ravine. Surface and deep 
mines. Pike Flat. Description of a sluice box. Panning 
out. Cleaning up the gold. Day Mining Company. Gold 
specimen found by the Day Company worth five hundred 
dollars Situation of the quartz mines. Grass Valley the 
richest quartz mining place in the country. The Allison 
ledge the richest ledge that was ever discovered. Lafay- 
ette ledge. Gold hill. Massachusetts hill. Ophir 
hill. Church hill. Osborn hill. Quartz mining uncer- 
tain. Lead lost and found in Gold hill richer than ever. 
Description of an incline shaft. Prospecting a quartz 
ledge. Ledge run out. Union hill quartz ledge a failure. 




Bought into the Point Mining Company. Description 
of the Point Mining Company. Miners' life. Discour- 
aged miners at work for the company. Second year in 
California. Living in a cabin twelve feet square. Have 
letters from home once a month. Buy a steamer edition 
of the Boston Journal. Gold and silver the money of Cali- 
fornia. The minister gave us a call. Orthodox fair in aid 
of the church. Episcopal fair. Sudden departure of the 
minister. Diabolical actions of the Episcopal minister. 
Receive letter from my brother Sherman at Downieville. 
Arrival of my brothers Sherman and Edward across the 
plains. Profits of driving cattle and horses across the 
plains to California. Sherman meets an old college mate. 
Sherman goes to Nevada City to study law with William 
M. Stewart. 



Fall of 1853. Sold out the Point claims. Bid good bye 
to our brothers, partners and acquaintances. Departure 
for home. Arrival in San Francisco. Buy second cabin 
tickets. Three steamers start from San Francisco, all in 
opposition. On the Pacific Ocean. Steamer had a hot 
box. Arrival at Nicaragua. Across the country to Grey- 
town. Departure for home. Betting on the steamer as 


to which would arrive in New York first. Steamship race. 
Arrival in New York first. At home in 1854. Tree spec- 
ulation. Second trip to California. Arrival in Grass Val- 
ley Sherman District Attorney of Nevada County. 
Shady Creek mines. First picnic in California. Large 
attendance at picnic. 



Water gives out at Grass Valley. Prospecting on Deer 
Creek. Nevada fire, July 19, 1856. Death of Sherman 
in a fire proof building. Description of the building. 
Funeral of Sherman. Journey to San Francisco to pro- 
cure a monument for brother's grave. Letter from Sena- 
tor Stewart. Engaged in putting in a cut at Shady 
Creek. Blasting accident. Partner badly injured. A 
year getting well. Shady Creek cut finished. Return to 
Grass Valley. Sickness. Mr. Tweed invited me to go 
up to his house. Soon recover under the care of Mrs. 
Tweed. At work on my claims at Grass Valley. $269 
quartz specimen found. Trip to Shady Creek with the 
big specimen. Upper claims at Grass Valley jumped. 
Succeed in getting the intruders off the ground. Let the 
dispute out to three men to settle. Partner not satisfied 
with the arrangement. 




Trip to Dutch Flat. Object of going to California. 
Dispose of my mining claims. Prospect a quartz ledge 
at Omega. Live in a deserted cabin. Run a tunnel into 
the hill. Dispute about slavery. Rock out of the tunnel 
destroying a flume below us. Water carried from the head 
waters of the South Yuba to Nevada and Grass Valley. 
Grizzly bear caught in a trap. Stop work on the tunnel. 
Second trip to Dutch Flat to see friends. Start for home. 
Brother Edward decides to stop longer. Meet an old 
schoolmate in San Francisco. Bought through ticket by 
way of Panama. Voyage to Panama. One of the passen- 
gers was on the ship Independence when it was burned. 
Narrow escape from shipwreck. Arrival at Panama. 
Across the Isthmus. Arrival home. Account of Edward's 
enlistment. His death. 





Patriotism of the North. The Selectmen urge the 
young men to enlist. They did their duty. Joined the 


nth Massachusetts Regiment at Boston. Leave the 
nth Regiment. Join a company in West Cambridge 
(now Arlington.) The company went to church Sunday 
in the Unitarian, Orthodox and Baptist churches, on 
invitation. No vacancy for a company in a Massachusetts 
regiment. Start to join a regiment in Brooklyn, New 
York. Brooklyn regiment not ready. Ordered to return 
to Massachusetts. Start to join a regiment in Yonkers, 
New York. Join the 40th Regiment, New York, recruit- 
ing at Yonkers. In camp for the first time. Sworn into 
the United States service 27th June, 1861. Appointed 
corporal June 28, 1861. Visit from Mayor Wood of New 
York at midnight. The ladies of Yonkers treat the regi- 
ment to strawberries and cream. The regiment starts for 
Washington, July 4, 1861. Arrival at Washington. First 
battle of Bull Run. The regiment guard the City of Alex- 



In camp Sacket at Alexandria. On picket for the first 
time. Disloyal persons found. Ignorance of the poor 
whites. On reserve picket at a large plantation house. 
Review of the army by the President, General McClellan 
and others. Pickets doubled. Visit from my brother. 
Addison Gage called to see the company. Captain Ingalls 
had a visit from his wife and child. Our regiment went 
out with a large scouting party. Return at two in the 


morning. Our colonel put under arrest for disobeying 
orders. Colonel in command of his regiment again. Cap- 
tain Ingalls put under arrest for a week. In command of 
his company again. Hard work for volunteers. Officers 
and men to obey orders. Scouting cavalry fired on. Win- 
ter quarters. Winter house. Soldier found asleep on his 
post. Punishment death. Sham fight. One man wounded. 
Target practice. 



Ordered to have three days' rations and be ready to 
march at a moment's notice. On the voyage to Fort Mon- 
roe. Arrival at Fort Monroe. See the Monitor for the 
first time. Description of the Monitor. Land in a rain 
storm. Wet all night. In camp at Fort Monroe. Ad- 
vance on Yorktown. Siege of Yorktown. Many narrow 
escapes from death during the siege. Rebels left the for- 
tifications. Men killed and wounded by rebel torpedoes. 
In the rebel works. Rebel purse found, containing rebel 
postage stamps, money, pens, and a lock of hair. Advance 
from Yorktown. Battle of Williamsburg. Defeat of the 
rebels. Rain storm. Spent the night standing up behind 
a tree in the storm. Without supper or breakfast. Union 
troops enter the city Caring for the wounded at Wil- 
liamsburg. On the march again. Battle of Fair Oaks. 
General McClellan arrives. Caring for the wounded. 
Death of Thompson and Ellis. 




Saw Major Ingalls for the last time. On picket duty 
all night. No sleep. Private property destroyed by order 
of the Commanding General. Fight in the woods. Bat- 
tle of Savage Station. Batteries in retreat. Cavalry or- 
dered to advance. Battle of Charles City Cross Roads. 
Out of drinking water. Very thirsty. Randolph's Bat- 
tery lose one gun. Major Ingalls wounded, and taken 
to Annapolis, Maryland. Fight of Malvern Mill. Sup- 
porting Randolph's Battery at Malvern Hill. Before we 
came to the Hill we marched all night without any water. 
Three men wounded near me at Malvern Hill. Rebel gun 
dismounted. Many of our regiment killed and wounded. 
After the battle. Retreat to Harrison's Landing. No 
sleep. Rain storm. Scott Hammond gave out. Ar- 
rival at Harrison's Landing. On picket. 



Ordered to be ready to march at a moment's notice. De- 
parture from Harrison's Landing. Arrival and departure 
from Yorktown. Arrival at Alexandria in a steamboat. 
Embark in the cars for Centerville. Go in the cars south 
from Centerville. With General Pope. Return to Cen- 
terville. Cavalry repulsed. Going into the Bull Run 
fight. Birney's attack. Narrow escape. After the bat- 


tie. Return to Centerville. Two days at Centerville. 
Ordered into line for the last time. Rebels between us 
and Washington. Nice carriage destroyed by the enemy. 
Battle of Chantilly. Thunderstorm. Wounded. Getting 
to the rear. Saw many wounded. Lieutenant Gould and 
Orderly Sergeant wounded. All the officers wounded 
down to the corporals. Taken prisoner. Sanitary Com- 
mission found us first. Return to Washington. 



Arrival in Washington. Ward surgeon said leg would 
have to be amputated. Head surgeon said he would try 
to save it. Write to friends at home, asking my brother 
to come to Washington as soon as possible. Wound 
does not improve. Many wounded in hospital. Limb 
amputated. Arrival of my brother. Wound does not 
heal readily. One soldier dies from eating fruit. Surgeon 
forbids any more fruit to be brought into the hospital. No 
appetite. Somewhat better. Sanitary Commission Agents 
very kind. Sisters of Charity. Moved from Cliffborn to 
Lincoln Hospital. Discharged from the army. Depart- 
ure for home on a bed. Arrival home. 





In the early days of the gold discovery in California 
there were three established routes. One was by way of 
Cape Horn by sailing vessels, a long and tedious journey, 
occupying from four to five months and sometimes longer, 
on account of rough and tempestuous weather. A stop 
was made at Rio Janeiro in Brazil on the Atlantic coast, 
and another at Valparaiso in Chili for stores, water, and to 
leave the mail and passengers. 

Another route was by way of the Isthmus of Panama. 
The steamers usually stopped at Kingston, Jamaica, for 
coal and to leave the mail and passengers. The landing 
on the Isthmus was at Chagres, at the mouth of the Cha- 
gres River. When the Panama railroad was built, the 
landing place, or port of entry, was changed to Aspinwall, 
a town situated a number of miles south of Chagres. This 
route was considered dangerous on account of the Panama 
fever and the bad living the steerage passengers were pro- 
vided with, a large part of the passengers buying steerage 


tickets. Sometimes steerage passengers bought first cabin 
tickets after starting on the voyage, as the living was so 
poor; but I did not. It is my opinion that steerage pas- 
sengers were purposely given poor fare so that they would 
buy first cabin tickets, and pay the difference. First cabin 
tickets cost two and three hundred dollars. 

After crossing the Isthmus, the steamer on the other 
side stopped at Acapulco, in Mexico, and at San Diego 
in Southern California. 

The third route was across the plains, from Missouri 
to California. This journey took the entire summer. 
The travellers had to live on bear, buffalo and deer meat, 
and what provisions they took with them, as there were 
no towns or stopping places on the route at that time. 

In 1853 another route was established, which was called 
the Nicaragua route. The passengers were landed at 
Greytown, Nicaragua. They went up the San Juan River 
to Lake Nicaragua, across the lake in a steamboat, and 
then travelled about twelve miles to San Juan del Sur on 
the Pacific. This route was five hundred miles shorter on 
the Pacific Ocean than the Panama route, and about the 
same distance on the Atlantic. It took one day longer to 
cross the Isthmus at Nicaragua than at Panama before the 
railroad was built, but the travelling was much more 
pleasant than by either of the other routes. 

I came home by way of Nicaragua in 1853, making the 
journey in twenty-three days and some hours, the shortest 
trip ever made between New York and San Francisco up 


to that time. We came home on the steamer Star of the 
West from Greytown to New York, that same steamer that 
tried to get provisions to Fort Sumter in 1861. 

When gold was discovered in California in 1849, mv 
brother Theodore was very desirous of going. My father 
objected for several reasons, and especially on account of 
the dangers of the Panama fever, for he had seen in the 
papers accounts of many deaths from this disease. 

About the first of January, 1852, my brother's business 
arrangements were such that he bought a ticket for Cali- 
fornia. Imagine my father's consternation when Theo- 
dore came home from Boston with this ticket. The steamer 
was to start from New York only a few days later. Father 
asked him if he had bought a ticket for me, also, and re- 
ceiving an answer in the negative, told him to procure one 
for me, since he knew I wanted to go. I was not at home 
at the time. My ticket cost one hundred and eighty dol- 
lars, Theodore's one hundred and fifty dollars. As a mat- 
ter of fact, Theodore had had his ticket in his pocket for 
a month. Father thought that no one ought to go to Cali- 
fornia alone, and he was about right. Our tickets were 
through tickets from New York to San Francisco, by way 
of the Isthmus of Panama. We had to pay our own way 
across the Isthmus. We each took a valise of clothing, 
blankets, and such other things as we thought we should 
need on the voyage, and started for New York. 

Neither of us had had much experience in travelling, and 
as for me, I had never been out of the state except to New 
Hampshire to visit my sister. Theodore had been to New 
York once before. 


Arriving in New York we went on board the steamer 
at once. Every thing looked nice and clean ; white sheets 
were on the beds, and other things to correspond. The 
government inspectors came on board to see that every- 
thing was all right. But after we got out to sea every 
thing was changed; the white sheets were removed from 
the beds, and things did not look as lovely as when we first 
saw the steamer. 

We had to take steerage tickets, as we did not have 
money enough to buy first cabin tickets, and have some- 
thing left when we arrived in California. The place where 
we stopped on board the steamer was composed of bunks, 
one above another, numbered, so that each passenger 
knew where he was to sleep. The first night at sea I 
went below about nine o'clock, and found another man in 
my berth. I told him he was in my berth, and showed 
him my number, but could not make him leave. I told 
some of the crew about it, and they told me to go to the 
captain, he told me to go to the steward, and the stew- 
ard told me to wait till morning, as he had gone to bed 
and could not tend to it. I took my blanket and went on 
deck, and lay down beside the smokestack, but did not 
sleep much. Thus passed the first night on board the 
steamer at sea. 

The next morning the steward found me a berth much 
better than the one I had paid for. 

As soon as it was warm enough, about four days after 
leaving New York, I slept on deck, and most of the steer- 
age passengers did the same, as it was very disagreeable 


down in the steamer where the steerage passengers slept. 
Nearly every one was seasick, many not recovering until 
we reached Jamaica. We performed our ablutions on the 
guard next to the wheelhouse, on the deck. We were fur- 
nished with a bucket and rope to draw the water from the 
ocean ; we were furnished with a basin to wash in. We 
had to furnish our own towels. 

We could tell when we were in the Gulf stream ; the 
water was milk warm. One night while sleeping on deck, 
I was looking up in the sky, and told my brother the ship 
was going round and round in a circle and not ahead. I 
found this out by looking at the stars. We were near the 
Bahama Banks, and the captain did not think it safe to go 
ahead until daylight. 

The steerage passengers were allowed to go on deck and 
walk about forward of the wheelhouse. The first cabin 
passengers were allowed to walk the whole length of the 
steamer, but on account of the large number of steerage 
passengers, who were in the way, they seldom found it 
pleasant to go beyond the wheelhouse. The vessel was 
crowded with passengers. 

Our first stopping place was at Kingston, on the Island 
of Jamaica, where we stopped for coal, supplies, and to 
leave the mails. When we first came in sight of the 
Island, it looked like dark clouds close down to the hori- 
zon. Before we came into the harbor of Kingston, a negro 
pilot came on board to take the steamer up to the wharf. 

Many of the passengers went on shore and ate the deli- 
cious fruits, such as oranges, pineapples, cocoanuts, ba- 


nanas, limes, lemons and other fruit, in which the Island 
abounded. And what oranges ! I ate ten before I could 
stop. They were much better than any I had ever seen 
in Massachusetts, because they were taken fresh from the 
trees, I suppdse. The fruit was peddled about the streets 
by boys, girls and old women, who lived on the Island. 

The coal was put on board the steamer by negro men 
and women, in baskets holding about a bushel, which they 
carried on their heads. I should think there were forty or 
fifty in all. They were in charge of an overseer, who kept 
them busy night and day until the steamer was loaded. 

We did not go far into the country, as we did not know 
when the steamer would leave. We saw orange, cocoanut 
and other trees, which bore the nice fruit, and also some 
cactus, fifteen or twenty feet in height. I thought the 
ladies at home would like some to put in their gardens. 

Most of the inhabitants of the island of Jamaica were 
Englishmen and negroes. The negroes did not appear 
very prosperous, and from what I saw of them I should 
say they had not improved much since they were liberated 
from slavery. 

The steamer having been supplied with coal, we were 
ready to go, but the wind blew the steamer back upon the 
wharf, and the sailors were unable to get the head around, 
so as to allow the wheels to work. A rope was fastened 
to a buoy some distance from the ship. A large number 
of passengers took hold of the rope and pulled her around 
clear of the wharf. As we were sailing out of the harbor, 
the steamer struck a schooner, which was anchored near 


the channel. The shock was great, and many of the pas- 
sengers, being badly shaken up, were much frightened, 
thinking the ship was going to sink. No great damage 
was done, as only the schooner's bowsprit was broken. 
The steamer got out to sea before dark without any other 
mishap. Most of the passengers put in a supply of fruit 
to eat on the voyage. Many were seasick again. We 
passed our time in playing cards, checkers, and in reading 
books, most of which had been procured previously in 
New York. Seasickness is so disagreeable that one does 
not feel much like doing anything. Nothing worthy of 
note occurred during the rest of the voyage. The sea was 
very rough most of the way, making travelling very un- 

In due time our steamer cast anchor about two miles 
from land, off the town of Chagres. We were landed in 
row boats by the natives, who came from the town to the 
ship for us. We paid them a dollar each. The sea was 
rough, and we found it difficult to get into the boats. Some- 
times the boat was ten feet below us ; then a big wave 
would float it up to where we were, and in we jumped. 
Thinking it very dangerous, I hesitated to go at first, but 
there was no other way to land. Finally when a big wave 
brought up the boat, I jumped in, and landed all right, but 
I was wet through before we reached the shore. We ex- 
pected the boat would be overturned, so rough was the 
sea. In the scramble I was separated from my brother. 
When I arrived near the wharf I was greeted with such 
cries as, ''Where have you been?" "What have you been 
doing?" etc., from Theodore. 


We found there were two ways of crossing the Isthmus. 
One was to sail up the Chagres River on a small steamer 
to Gargano, and walk or ride on a mule the rest of the 
way The other way was to walk or ride all the way To 
Gargano was more than half way We concluded to take 
the boat. The boat was crowded. It was about fifty miles 
across the Isthmus. On our left, as we entered Chagres, 
there was a big bluff between the town and the ocean, on 
which was situated a fort, which defended the town. 
Chagres had a population of about three thousand. It 
was situated close to the ocean, the wharf being on 
the right. The inhabitants were mostly Spaniards, or de- 
scendants of Spaniards, Indians and negroes. Fruits were 
peddled about the streets. There were several large stores 
in the place, kept mostly by Spaniards. Trained parrots 
and monkeys were plenty outside the buildings and on 
the piazzas of the hotels. Fruit trees were growing around 
and in front of the town. 

After stopping a few hours in Chagres, we proceded 
up the river to Gargano. Most of the distance along the 
river the forest trees grew close to the water, and we 
could see paths in the openings where the wild beasts 
came down to drink. At night the steamer was run up to 
the bank and made fast to a tree. In the night we heard 
all sorts of noises, different from anything we had ever 
heard before, made by wild beasts and reptiles. We were 
about half way to Gargano, when the steamer was disabled. 
Word was sent to the town, and new boats were procured. 
While waiting for the boats, we amused ourselves by shoot- 


ing at the doctor's hat with our pistols ; by the way, near- 
ly everybody carried a pistol. The doctor was a dentist, 
bound for Chili, and accompanied by his wife. His hat 
was pretty well riddled with pistol balls. He extracted a 
tooth for my brother, charging the modest sum of five dol- 
lars for the operation, which was quite enough to procure 
him a new hat. We bought oranges of the natives, there 
being a grove near the bank. After a delay of about 
twelve hours, the boats arrived and we proceeded to within 
a few miles of Gargano. and walked the rest of the way. 

At one place in the middle of the river there was a 
schooner fast in the mud; the masts had been removed 
and it had been transformed into a hotel; we took break- 
fast there. 

Arriving at Gargano late in the afternoon, we staid here 
over night. We paid a dollar for sleeping in a shed on 
the ground. Every building in the place was occupied. 
Next morning we started on foot for the City of Panama, 
a distance of twenty miles, arriving there in due season, 
completely tired out. We passed the first night in a hotel 
outside the city. A high wall surrounds the town, and at 
night the gates are closed and no one is allowed to enter. 

In the morning we entered the city, and registered at a 
large hotel. All the public houses were crowded; not 
only were the beds full, but the floors were covered with 
men bound for California. We were sleeping on the floor 
one night when my brother was taken very sick. He 
asked me to get him some brandy and water as soon as 
possible. I made my way to the stairs over the sleeping 


men, and in my hurry I fear I stepped on some of them, 
for I thought my brother was dying. I was greeted with 
such exclamations as " Get off my toes," or " Get out of 
here or I'll put you out." I procured the brandy without 
any other mishap, and after giving it to my brother, I was 
greatly relieved to see him improve rapidly. He had been 
taken with a sudden attack of the Panama fever. The 
fever troubled him while he was in California, and for a 
number of years after he returned home. I ought to state 
that the City of Panama is situated on the Pacific coast. 
We were four days on the Isthmus. The railroad was not 
built at this time, but the work of construction was being 
pushed. There was nothing but rough roads and mule 
paths across the Isthmus, except a fair road several miles 
out of Panama, paved with cobble stones. Everything 
was carried across the Isthmus on pack mules or horses. 
We saw a pack train of thirty or forty mules and horses 
loaded with silver bars, which were three or four feet in 
length, and about three inches in thickness. The train 
was guarded by twenty or thirty native soldiers, armed 
with muskets. The silver came from some of the South 
American countries, Chili, Peru or Bolivia, and was being- 
transported across the Isthmus to Chagres, to be shipped 
to New York or some foreign country. 

The roads were very poor most of the way. It was the 
rainy season and everything was covered with mud. 
Sometimes the mules sank to their bellies in the mud. 
Very likely the travelling was much better in the dry sea- 


The Isthmus was once in the possession of brigands, 
whose seaports were the City of Panama and Chagres. 
They had armed vessels that roamed the sea on both sides 
of the Isthmus, and captured everything they came in con- 
tact with, making slaves of the officers, sailors and passen- 
gers. We saw quite a number of miles of road out from 
Panama paved with small stones by their prisoners. At 
last their vessels and seaports were captured by civilized 
nations, and the pirate kingdom was swept from the face 
of the earth. 

There were some well dressed Spaniards and others 
who rode about in carriages with their families. 

The country was very uneven and hilly in the interior, 
so much so that I have always been of the opinion that a 
canal could never be constructed across the Isthmus. 

We spent one Sunday in the City of Panama. In the 
forenoon the military paraded the streets. There were also 
religious services in the cathedrals. In the afternoon cock- 
fights in the streets appeared to be the principal occupation. 
The priests looked on to see the sport with the rest of the 
inhabitants. Sunday seemed to be a regular holiday. I 
went into one of the cathedrals where mass was being cele- 
brated in Spanish or some other foreign tongue. There 
were many gold and silver images and candlesticks about 
the altar. 

The principal streets of Panama were paved with cobble 
stones. Most of the buildings were two stories in height, 
with tiled roof. Parrots and vultures were quite plenty in 
and about the city. The former were numerous about the 


buildings and hotels. They were quite tame. They were 
wild in the country, which is their native place. It was 
against the law to kill a vulture. They are black and look 
like a crow, but much larger. They act as scavengers in 
the city. They were very numerous in the cities of Mexico 
where we stopped. 

Soon after arriving in Panama we went to the steamship 
company's office to learn when we were to sail to San Fran- 
cisco. There was a steamer in the harbor, ready to sail, 
but not the one we were booked for. But we were told at 
the office that we could go on that one if we would take 
deck passage, — a thing which we concluded to do, since we 
were very glad to leave such an unsettled place. 

While we were on the Isthmus we found the weather 
mild and damp. Oranges and other fruit grow on the trees 
all the year round. On our way up from Panama to San 
Francisco we had the company of George Stevens, from 
Littleton, and of two brothers by the name of Stewart. 
They were formerly butchers in Littleton, and I was told 
later that they went into the same business in San Fran- 

We stopped at Acapulco twelve hours to leave the mails, 
and to procure some stores for the ship. Some of the pas- 
sengers went on shore in the boats, Theodore and I among 
the rest. We had a good dinner of ham, eggs, chicken, 
bread and coffee, which was a great treat, after living so 
long on wormy bread, poor beef, fish, stale bread and poor 
coffee. While we were anchored in the harbor, the natives 
came out to the steamer in their boats, loaded with tropical 


fruits, which they sold to the passengers. They also had 
some very pretty shells, which they sold at a low price. 
Little boys came out to the steamer in boats. The pas- 
sengers amused themselves by throwing ten-cent pieces 
into the water for these little fellows to dive for, Some- 
times three or four were after the same piece of money 
Very often the money would go down fifteen or twenty feet 
in the water, but they always got it, and held it up for us to 
see, grinning from ear to ear. It was great sport for the 

When we came out of the harbor the steamer passed quite 
close to land, so that we could almost throw a stone to the 
shore. The sea was very calm on the Pacific most of the 
time. We saw numbers of whales, porpoises, flying fish, 
etc. We sailed quite near a whale ship, which signaled for 
our steamer to stop. A number of the whalemen .came on 
board our steamer. They brought a large sea turtle with 
them, which they gave to the captain. The captain in turn 
gave them the New York papers and several bottles of wine. 
After they had been on board our steamer an hour or so, 
the captain asked them to leave, as he was anxious to pro- 
ceed on the voyage. So eager were they to talk about 
home and to hear the news that the captain had to speak to 
them several times before they would go. They had been 
away from home eighteen months. 

One morning we saw something that looked like men on 
a raft making signals to us by waving their hats or coats, 
as we supposed, to draw our attention. The captain think- 
ing some one was wrecked, stopped the ship, and was on 


the point of sending a boat, when a great vulture flew away 
from what proved to be the carcass of a dead horse or cow. 
The passengers laughed at the captain for making such a 
ridiculous mistake. 

Most of the way from Panama to San Francisco we were 
in sight of the shore. We stopped at San Diego to leave 
and get the mails. This was our last stopping place before 
arriving at San Francisco. At San Diego we ran across 
a man who was sick and out of money. He had taken pas- 
sage from New York to California by way of Cape Horn, 
and for some reason had been left at San Diego. Some 
of the passengers asked the captain what he would take the 
man to San Francisco for. The sum was quite reasonable. 
The hat was passed among the passengers and money 
enough was soon raised to pay his fare to San Francisco, 
and have something left when he arrived. The man felt 
very thankful to us for helping him. 

We landed in San Francisco all right, but not so strong 
as when we left home. We passed through the Golden 
Gate for the first time. The entrance to the harbor was 
quite narrow On the right hand side was a high bluff, but 
the other side was much lower. Soon after passing through 
the Golden Gate we came in sight of an island, Angel 
Island, I think it was. A fort had been built on it to de- 
fend the entrance to the harbor. After passing the island 
the steamer turned to the right, and the City of San Fran- 
cisco was in sight. Back of the city are high hills, and part 
of the city is built on these hills. Looking across the bay 
to the north we could see Oakland, fifteen miles distant. 


To the left of Oakland was the entrance to the Sacramento 
River. Looking down the harbor we could not see land. 
It looked like the ocean, so great was the distance. This 
is the largest and best harbor in the world. 

We stopped in San Francisco a few hours, and then 
started for the mines, intending to go to the City of Nevada, 
in Nevada County, as we had read in the papers that it 
was a good mining locality. As we left the hotel, valises in 
hand, we saw Mr. Stevens in the smoking-room, smoking a 
cigar. He asked us where we were going, we told him to 
the mines. He wanted to know why we were in such a 
hurry, and we told him we were in no hurry, but saw no 
reason for stopping there. We did not see him again while 
we were in California. 

We took the steamboat to Sacramento City, passing across 
the bay to the Sacramento River. As we went along we 
saw large numbers of wild ducks and geese. The river was 
very crooked, and the country on both sides of the river 
was very flat. The lower part of the valley is covered with 
a kind of reed, five or six feet in height. Further up the 
valley large quantities of wheat are raised. 

At Sacramento we took another small steamer to Marys- 
ville, on our way to Nevada City. At Marysville my brother 
sent a letter home to mother. We arrived at Marysville at 
night, intending to start for Nevada City in the morning by 
stage. But the fare was so high that we concluded to walk. 
As we passed along the road we saw the farmers ploughing 
the land to put in the wheat. It was now the 12th of Feb- 


The land was quite level for twenty-five miles on each 
side of the Sacramento River. We could see the moun- 
tains in the distance where the mines were situated. It 
was quite easy travelling till we arrived at the foot hills of 
the Sierra Nevada mountains. The only town we passed 
through was Rough and Ready, about five miles from Grass 
Valley, and ten miles from Nevada City. There were 
ranches on the road, where travellers could secure lodgings. 
Saturday afternoon about five o'clock we arrived at Grass 
Valley, situated about four miles from Nevada City. A 
hotel runner came to us, and wanted us to take supper at 
his hotel, which we did. We were very tired, travelling all 
day afoot. It was the custom in the mining towns at that 
time for the hotels to send out men to invite strangers to 
stop at their hotel. A great number of miners were travel- 
ling about the country prospecting for gold to find a good 
place to locate. 




After we had finished supper on the first day of our 
arrival in Grass Valley, the proprietor of the hotel urged us 
to stay there instead of going to Nevada, claiming it was a 
much better mining locality. There was plenty of work by 
the month and day to be obtained at the numerous saw 
mills and quartz mills of the place. Of course the land- 
lord of the hotel expected us to board with him. He said 
so much, and gave such a flattering account of the place 
that we concluded to stay. He charged ten dollars a week 
for board and lodging. Quite a large number of men had 
walked up with us from Marysville and stopped in Grass 
Valley. Some had come on the same steamer with us from 
New York, — one man from Lowell, Mass. We had good 
board at the hotel, but the sleeping accommodations were 
rather poor, consisting of bunks, one above the other 
There were but few families in the place when we arrived, 
the population being made up mostly of miners. In the 
evening the village was filled with miners, who came to, 
make purchases at the stores, most of them boarding them- 
selves. Most of the miners wore course woolen suits; 
some of them had big breast pins of gold in their dirty shirt 
fronts, and large gold watches and chains. 

One of our partners left for home with $16,000 in gold, 


which he had obtained from the mines. He always wore a 
gray woolen shirt. I never knew him to board out at any 
of the hotels or boarding-houses of the town. We made 
Grass Valley our home all the time we were in California. 

The next Monday morning after our arrival I started out 
to see the place. I went to the lower end of the village 
and saw a man at work alone, mining in what was called 
Boston ravine. He was throwing the pay dirt into the 
sluice with a shovel. The water washed the dirt out of the 
boxes and left the gold. I struck up a bargain with this 
man to work the rest of the day for three dollars. He told 
me the wages for a whole day's work were six dollars. I 
threw off my coat, and began to work about ten o'clock. At 
night he paid me, but didn't want me any longer. I was 
not strong, for I had had such poor living so long on the 
steamer that I could not do much work. My stock of 
money was nearly exhausted, and I was far from home; 
so I was naturally anxious to get to work as soon as possible. 
I had sixty dollars and my brother about two hundred 
when we first came to Grass Valley. After finishing work, 
I went back to the hotel and told my brother I had earned 
three dollars. He said I had done quite an extensive busi- 
ness for the first day. 

Grass Valley is situated about forty miles from Sacra- 
mento in the foot hills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, 
about half way between Rough and Ready and Nevada City, 
which are about ten miles apart. Most of the town is on 
the hillside overlooking the valley which is on the north. 
Wolf Creek runs south through the valley to the right of 


the town. Grass Valley ravine runs down from the west 
and enters Wolf Creek at the foot of the village. Wood- 
pecker ravine runs into Wolf Creek from the east, about 
half a mile above the village. There is a flat in front of 
the town, called Pike Flat. All these places can be seen 
from the town of Grass Valley, which has a beautiful situa- 
tion. About a mile south of Grass Valley on Wolf Creek 
is another village called Boston Ravine. When we first 
came to the town, most of the buildings were covered with 
shingles, three feet in length. For partitions between the 
rooms cotton cloth was used. More substantial buildings 
were afterwards put up of brick and lumber. Many log 
cabins were put up by the miners, and many of the stores were 
made of logs. Gambling and drinking saloons were very 
numerous, open all day and late in the night, Sundays and 
all. Three or four musicians were employed in the larger 
saloons to entice in strangers. I think there was but one 
church in the place when we arrived there in February, 
1852, the Methodist South. Other churches were after- 
wards erected. The Methodist North, Orthodox, Episcopal, 
and later the Catholic church. Many of the miners and 
business men went or sent home for their families; society 
soon improved ; places of business were closed on Sunday, 
and the saloons and gambling hells greatly reduced. There 
were tall pine trees and stumps two feet in height in the 
streets when we first came into the place. One night the 
wind blew very hard, blowing down one of the trees upon a 
dwelling-house when people were sleeping. Fortunately no 


one was hurt. Next morning, the citizens with axes and 
ropes, cut and pulled down every tree there was in the 

After boarding at the hotel two or three weeks, we went 
into a deserted log cabin and boarded ourselves for four or 
five dollars a week. Next we bought a "torn" pick and 
shovel and tried to get some gold out of the ground. I 
think we made about fifty cents the first day. We made up 
our minds it would be more profitable to work out by the 
month or day, until we got used to the business of mining. 
What we had spent at the hotel for board and for our min- 
ing tools, cooking utensils, etc., had made a big hole in our 
money, and we had to do something to earn some money at 

My brother, Theodore, hired out hauling logs with a pair 
of oxen to William Bennett, who had a saw mill in the place. 
His wages were seventy-five dollars a month and board. 
I hired out to a man by the name of Allison to split cedar 
rails. I did not make much headway splitting rails, as I 
was still weak from my sea voyage. Shortly after I had com- 
menced splitting rails, I heard of a new quartz mining com- 
pany that was going to work on Osborne hill, situated about 
four miles east of Grass Valley. I engaged to go to work 
for them at one hundred dollars a month and board. 
After I had been at work for the new company a short time, 
my brother wanted me to secure a place for him to work in 
the new company, also. He did not like to work for seven- 
ty-five dollars a month, while I was getting a hundred. I 
told the overseer that I had a brother who would like to get 


employment. He said he would let me know when there 
was a vacancy. Soon after there was a vacancy, and Theo- 
dore left his place hauling logs, and went to work for the 
company on Osborne hill, and we were together again. 
Our work was not hard. Sometimes we were drawing the 
gold bearing rock out of the ground with a windlass, some- 
times hauling the rock to the mill with a mule and cart to 
be crushed. One day I was driving the mule with a load of 
quartz rock down a steep hill. The road was very narrow. 
On the right hand side was a steep ravine. The mule went 
a little too far to the right, and before I was aware of it over 
she went, cart and all, down into the ravine, and landed ten 
or twelve feet below. I thought I had killed the mule sure, 
and gazed down, in deep suspense, to where she was. Im- 
agine my surprise to see her quietly eating brush. The 
accident happened in sight of the mill. The overseer saw 
me, and calling a number of the mill hands, came and helped 
me get the mule and cart out of the ravine. The harness 
was somewhat broken, but this was all the damage done. 
The harness and big saddle probably saved the mule from 
being hurt. It took some time to get the mule and cart 
back again into the road. The overseer thought I was 
rather careless, and I thought so, too. I looked out for my 
mule after that, when going down a steep hill. The overseer 
said he laughed when he saw the mule and cart go tumbling 
into the ravine. 

After we had worked for the new company a few months, 
the company cut the wages down to eighty dollars a 
month. The drifters' wages were reduced from six to five 


dollars a day. Most of the men left except the drifters, we 
among the rest. We next went to work for Conway & Co., 
on Massachusetts hill, for eighty dollars a month. We 
afterwards went back to the Osborne Company at the re- 
duced wages. My brother Theodore and myself, let this 
company have one thousand dollars at three per cent, a 
month. When we wanted the money we were paid prompt- 
ly, though we were told that the company would have 
liked it longer at the same rate. The company was doubt- 
less good, but we thought we had better send the money 
home, so as to have a "nest egg" in case we should get 
short, — everything was so uncertain in California at that 
time. I have known honest, hard working miners to lose 
their money several times over. They would save several 
thousand dollars, and then wait for a few hundred more be- 
fore starting for home. In the meantime, before that 
amount was secured, their little fortunes would be greatly 
reduced, and frequently all gone. The Adams Express 
Company atone time suspended payment, and many honest 
miners lost all. A man of my acquaintance lost two thou- 
sand dollars through this company. One of my partners 
by the name of Clark, was reduced a number of times. He 
would get most enough to give him a good start in the 
world, as he thought, but always wanted a few hundred 
more before he started for home. Before he could get the 
few hundred, he would lose a part of what he had. He told 
me he was about discouraged. He did not fool his money 
away. He lost some money prospecting a quartz ledge. 
At another time he lost money when the Adams Express 


Company failed. Again he was interested in a company of 
twenty, that put down a shaft on Eureka slide, that cost 
twenty thousand dollars. They did not strike the lead; so 
here was another loss. He boarded himself, washed his own 
clothes and lived very prudently. The last time I heard of 
him, he had got into another unlucky speculation. 

We worked for Conway & Co. on Massachusetts hill for 
several months at eighty dollars a month, when we were 
discharged. The mill stopped for repairs. It was an eigh- 
teen stamp quartz mill, situated in Boston ravine. The com- 
pany owned quartz ledges on Massachusetts and Gold hills. 
They afterwards bought the Lafayette ledge for seventy- 
five thousand dollars. We then worked in the placer mines 
for the Day Company for five dollars a day, and boarded 
ourselves. It was much harder work, but the pay was better. 
After we had worked for the Day Company three or four 
weeks, the water gave out. The company said they would 
give us work, if we would work nights. So we worked 
at night and slept in the daytime, but it was not so pleasant. 
After a number of weeks the company had to stop work 
day and night for want of water. Then we had to find em- 
ployment elsewhere. 

At another time my brother and I worked for a man by 
the name of Stiles, sinking shafts. He was employed by 
the Empire Gold Quartz Mining Company getting out 
quartz by the ton on Ophir hill. We had a dollar a foot 
for sinking the shafts, which were about sixty feet deep. 
We made good wages at this work, six or seven dollars a 
day, but it did not last long. At another time I cut cord 


wood, and sold it I cut it from the tops of trees, that had 
been cut down for lumber. I could cut from two to three 
cords a day, realizing two dollars and a half a cord. 

At another time I worked three weeks for a man who was 
getting out shingles. They were split out of sugar pine. 
One tree that we worked on was seven feet through, and a 
hundred and fifty feet high. The tree was very clear for 
forty or fifty feet. The sugar pine looked something like 
our white pine, but made much better lumber. 

One day when I was at work for Wood & Company on 
Osborne hill, some little distance from the mill, an Indian 
came near where I was, and by signs let me know that he 
wanted my money. He had a bow and plenty of arrows. 
I had no money with me. I emptied my pockets. After 
he was convinced that I had no money, he went away. I 
had nothing to defend myself with but my axe. 

In the winter of 1852-53, while I was at work for the 
Conway Mining Company, which employed some fifteen or 
twenty men, we had a great snowstorm. The snow was 
four feet deep, so as to stop the teams hauling quartz rock 
to the mill to be crushed and the gold extracted. Work 
was stopped, both in the mill and the mines. The com- 
pany were owing their help twenty thousand dollars. The 
overseer promised to pay as soon as he could get to work 
again. He gave each of us a note for the amount due us. 
He boarded us as long as his money lasted, and when that 
gave out tried to borrow, but without success, as all the 
property was heavily mortgaged. The company had re- 
cently bought the Lafayette Gold Quartz Mine, and had 


mortgaged the mill and other property in settlement. The 
men boarded with him as long as he could furnish them 
with anything to eat. One night after we had had supper, 
consisting of a little codfish and a few small potatoes, not 
knowing where we should get food the next day, we all as- 
sembled in the cabin to pass away the time as best we could, 
telling stories and singing songs. Everyone was expected 
either to tell a story or to sing a song, and they told some 
of the most improbable stories I ever heard. Here is one : 

At the time of the Revolution the English soldiers caught 
one of our spies. He was tried by court martial and found 
guilty, and sentenced to be hanged. The soldiers tried to 
hang him, but the rope broke. They passed around his 
neck the largest rope they had, and that broke too, without 
doing him any harm. They said, " We'll fix him." They 
put a heavy charge of powder into one of their largest guns, 
rammed it down, put the spy on top in place of a ball, 
and fired it. About a quarter of a mile in front of the 
cannon was a piece of woods. The soldiers could seethe 
trees fall from the contents of the cannon. They went into 
the woods to search for the remains of the poor spy. Imag- 
ine their surprise when they found him sitting on the stump 
of the last tree quietly picking the slivers out of his legs. 
They let him go after that. The above story was told by a 
New Jersey man. 

In consequence of the deep snow, everything that man or 
beast could eat was very high and scarce. Flour went up 
to sixty dollars a barrel, and other things in proportion. 
Some of the boarding-houses had nothing for their boarders 


to eat, and they had to quit the business. Teams from 
Sacramento and Marysville, where everything came from, 
could not get into the place on account of the snow and 
mud. Tne mules and horses sank to their bellies in the 
roads. We had to leave Conway's and live as best we could. 
Theodore was at work for a man by the name of Cole, who 
kept a boarding-house in the village, and was lucky enough 
to have a stock of flour and other eatables on hand. I ob- 
tained board from him for twelve dollars a week. The 
snow drove the grizzly bears out of the mountains. One 
large one passed through Grass Valley. One of Conway's 
men saw him while teaming a load of wood. When first 
seen the bear was in the path coming towards him. The 
man had never seen a bear before and thought it was a cow. 
But he thought it was the funniest looking cow he had ever 
seen. When he met the bear it turned off to the left and 
went over the fence. The bear looked back to see if the 
man was coming after him. When the man got back to 
the village and told what he had seen, everyone said it was 
a grizzly bear, and very man in town who had a rifle or shot 
gun went after him. They killed the bear between Grass 
Valley and Rough and Ready, and sold the meat for forty 
cents a pound. It weighed eight hundred pounds. 

Further up the mountains the snow was twenty feet deep. 
Men had to leave and come down to Nevada and Grass Valley 
on snowshoes. Food was sent to those in the mountains as 
soon as possible. Such quantities of snow had never been 
seen before. We managed to live through the winter with- 
out any great suffering, although some were "short" for a 


while. I did not hear of anyone dying of hunger. The 
mills all stopped work, and very little business of any kind 
was done. The snow did not last long, and after a few weeks 
everything was plenty again. In the spring the mills 
started up, and work was plenty again. I received my money 
of Mr. Conway, three hundred dollars, soon after he com- 
menced work, though the first time I called upon him I 
failed to get it. 

The first flour to reach Grass Valley, after the great snow- 
storm, was brought on pack mules by the baker. The 
freight on the first load of flour and provisions amounted to 
six hundred dollars. It was a very large load, drawn by six 
yoke of oxen. 

At one time I worked getting out lumber for large quartz 
and saw mills. Sometimes we didn't work longer than two 
or three weeks in the same place. The mills would stop 
work for repairs, water would give out, or something else 
would happen to prevent us from working continuously in 
one place. All kinds of business were very uncertain, as is 
apt to be the case in a new country. We were at work 
most of the time, however, doing something. 

One evening, during the period Theodore and I were at 
work on Osborne hill for Wood & Company at one hundred 
dollars per month, we went with the rest of the help to see 
an Indian fandango or dance, about five miles from the mill. 
In the woods, near the place of meeting, we saw Indians hid- 
ing behind trees, armed with bows and arrows. Sometimes 
some of the white men abused their women, and so they 
were on the lookout. We kept together so as not to get 


into any trouble with them. Some of our men had pistols, 
so that we could defend ourselves if need be, but we had no 
trouble with them. 

The place was lighted up by a number of wood fires. 
There was a large wigwam, in the centre of the place, made 
of poles, sticks and mud, I should think. In fact, I could 
hardly tell what it was made of. There was but one en- 
trance to the building, which was only about two feet high. 
I had to crawl on my hands and knees to get into the build- 
ing. An Indian stood at the entrance, and I asked him the 
price of admission, for I wanted to see what was going on 
inside. He said three dollars. I told him I would not 
give so much. He then said two dollars. I told him I 
would not give two dollars. He said one dollar, and upon 
my refusing to give this sum, finally dropped to fifty cents, 
which I paid. 

There was a large fire in the centre of the building, and 
the smoke went out of a hole in the roof. Ten or twelve 
"buck" or male Indians were dancing round the fire almost 
naked. They made the ground tremble with their dancing. 
They had some sort of music, or noise I ought to call it, 
but it was on the other side of the fire, and I could not see 
what it was composed of. There were about one hundred 
and fifty inside, mostly women. The squaws had some 
acorn soup in a bowl, which they ate with their hands. 
They motioned for me to eat some of it, but I told them I 
had been to supper. They laughed at me because I would 
not eat with them. They were a filthy set. There was 
such a foul smell in the place that I did not stop long. The 


squaws also had acorn soup outside the wigwam, of which 
we were invited to partake. I do not think many of our 
party accepted their invitation. We staid about two hours 
and then left, well satisfied with our visit. The Indians 
came into town quite often to get flour, and occasionally a 
poor piece of meat. The squaws usually came with them, 
with their little ones strapped to their backs. The Indians 
made the squaws carry all things purchased. One day I saw 
an Indian go by the cabin not carrying anything, while his 
squaw was loaded down with a pappoose and sack of flour. 
I asked the Indian why he didn't carry the flour. He 
laughed and said in Choctaw dialect, "Very good. woman." 
I told him he was a lazy, good-for-nothing Indian. His 
only response was a grin. Sometimes they worked, but 
not very often. An Indian boy worked in a stable in Grass 
Valley, another worked in an eating-house at Montezuma, 
a small mining town on the other side of the South Yuba. 

The United States government sent the Indians to a 
reservation away from the mining towns. They came back 
to Grass Valley every year to mourn for departed friends 
who had gone to the happy hunting grounds. Once I went 
to one of their places of mourning. They made a great 
deal of noise, hallooing and crying. I could see tears in 
their eyes. The chief of the Grass Valley, Wenmer, told 
me that he and his Indians did not like to live away from 
Grass Valley. He used to come to our cabin to get some- 
thing to eat, which we gave him. He would thrust his head 
into the window or door, grin and say, "Bread, Injun muchee 
hungry, very good American." 


We used to get a small stick of wood, four or five feet in 
length, split one end a little, put a twenty-five cent piece 
into the crack, set it upright in the ground about a hundred 
feet away, and let them shoot at the money with their bows 
and arrows. If they hit the coin they had it. On one 
occasion an Indian shot his arrow at the coin a number of 
times and failed to hit it. He then went and pocketed the 
piece of money, which was against the rules, but we let him 
have it, as everyone laughed at him because he could not 
hit the coin. They preferred to get money that way, rather 
than to work for it. 

Sometimes they would steal gold from the sluice boxes 
while we were at dinner. One day a miner saw an Indian 
stealing gold from a sluice box. A number of miners chased 
him, but he was a better runner than any of them, and got 

The Yuba River tribe had a fight with the Grass Valley 
tribe one day, and two or three were wounded on each side. 
That was all the battle amounted to. They were too lazy 
to fight. My brothers, Sherman and Edward, said they 
were inferior to the Indians they saw on the plains. 




The placer mines of Grass Valley extended from the sur- 
face to a depth of two hundred and twenty-five feet. Eureka 
slide, situated beyond the head of Grass Valley ravine, was 
two hundred and twenty-five feet deep. The pay dirt, or 
lead, of this mine was about fifty feet wide, and from six 
inches to two or three feet deep, and was very rich. It was 
a continuation of Grass Valley slide. My brother Theodore 
worked drifting in Grass Valley slide a short time for one 
of the owners, John McCoy, who was sick, for which he 
received seven dollars a day. It was a wet, disagreeable 
place to work. Drifting consists of digging out a passage 
in the earth, usually between shaft and shaft, following 
along the lead and taking out the pay dirt. 

The gold is found near the bed rock, but not below it. 
The pay dirt usually consists of gravel from a few inches to 
two or three feet in depth. In the creek and ravines, where 
the miners first commenced to work, the poorest dirt on 
top was thrown to one side. Later, when labor was not so 
high, all this dirt was worked through the sluice boxes. 

A sluice box is made of three boards, each twelve feet 
long, one foot wide and one inch thick, nailed together. 
The bottom board is made two inches narrower at one end, 
in order that the small end of one box will fit the large end 


of another box. A piece of board, two inches wide, is nailed 
on the bottom and top of the box at both ends and in the 
middle, to make the box strong enough to hold a man. 
Three or four pieces of board, an inch wide, are driven inside 
the big end of the box, four inches from the end, two inches 
apart to prevent the gold from leaving the box. A run of 
sluices is composed of twenty or more boxes, one after the 
other. The longer the run the more gold will be saved. 
One end of the box is raised two, three, four and sometimes 
six inches higher than the other end, thereby making one 
end of a long run several feet higher than the other. 
The boxes are usually on two stakes, one on each side, 
nailed together by a piece of board about a foot wide. The 
boxes must be perfectly tight, so that the water, gold and 
quicksilver can not get out. A piece of cotton cloth two 
inches wide is put around the small end of the box before it 
is put into the large end to prevent its leaking. If it leaks 
after that, it is calked with cotton cloth. The water is let 
into the upper box, and goes down through the whole run 
of boxes. The pay dirt is put into the boxes with a shovel. 
The water washes the dirt and gravel out. If there are any 
large stones that the water will not carry out of the box, a 
man walking on top of the boxes, throws them out with a 
long-handled fork. 

The gold being very heavy, settles down into the bottom 
of the box, and is prevented from escaping by pieces of 
boards fastened in the big end of the box. When the gold 
is taken out, a small quantity of water is run down through 
the boxes. The pieces of board, above mentioned, are taken 


out, and quicksilver is sprinkled by means of a soda bottle 
with a cotton rag tied over the end. The amalgam is swept 
out of the boxes at the end of the run with a small broom 
into an iron pan, water is put into the pan, then the pan is 
shaken over a hole, and the sand and all other impurities 
are washed out. This process is called "panning out." 
The amalgam is then strained through a buckskin bag, 
made for that purpose. It is then put into an iron pan and 
put over a hot fire, where the mercury is burnt off. A 
magnet is then used to take out any particles of iron. The 
gold is then boiled five or ten minutes in nitric acid, washed 
and dried, and is then ready to be sold. Our company at 
first used to hire the druggist at the village to clean the 
gold, but later we bought a magnet and nitric acid, and 
cleaned it ourselves. Most of the deep diggings were dis- 
covered after the cracks and ravines were worked out. The 
dirt and gravel in the cracks and ravines was a foot to five 
or six feet in depth, down to the bed work. 

Wolf Creek, Boston Ravine, and Grass Valley ravine 
were rich. Woodpecker ravine paid well, but not so well 
as the others I have mentioned. Pike Flat, through which 
Wolf Creek runs opposite Grass Valley to the north, had 
a very rich lead, which extended about half way the length 
of Pike Flat, and then turning to the left, run out in the 
old Point and Day diggings at the edge of the flat and on the 
hill. The Day Company found a specimen of clear gold 
worth five hundred dollars. The Flat was about twelve 
feet deep down to the bed rock. The lead was from six 
inches to two feet deep, and thirty or forty feet wide. The 


Day and Point diggings paid well, the latter more regularly 
than any other diggings I ever worked in. The trouble 
with these mines was that they did not last long. None of 
them lasted longer than five or six years, and many not so 
long as that. 

The miners ran a ditch and tunnel into Pike flat to drain 
the mines, as it was very wet. We on the point were 
troubled somewhat with water, but little, however, as our 
claims did not extend far into the flat. We had a flume at 
the end of our runs into which the " tailings " ran. We 
cleaned out this flume once in three or four weeks, and even 
then did not save all the gold, for some would run away 
with the dirt. Nothing was ever invented capable of saving 
all the gold. It was fine as flour. We never found any 
pieces of gold at the point larger than two or three dollars. 
The Day Company ran their "tailings" into a ditch which 
had never been cleaned out. 

No one knew how much gold was in the ditch, but the 
Company offered the gold for sale for fifteen hundred dollars, 
but no one would take it; so it was cleaned out by them 
selves, and they realized $10,000. The expense of cleaning 
the ditch was not more than one hundred dollars. What a 
little fortune for us, if we had only known the amount of 
gold in the ditch. 

At another time a man named Bosworth offered us claims 
for three hundred dollars, which afterwards proved to be 
very rich. He went to the states, and returned with his 
wife and wife's sister, and is now postmaster of Grass Val- 
ley, or was in 1886, when I was last there. 


The deep mines of Grass Valley, except quartz mines, 
were Grass Valley slide and Eureka slide. The latter was 
two hundred and twenty-five feet deep, and was worked for 
many years. An engine was used to pump out the water, 
and hoist out the dirt. 

The quartz mines were extensive, and lasted longer than 
the placer mines; but the working was more expensive. 
They were mostly in the hills. Grass Valley was said to 
have the richest quartz mines in the world. The Allison 
ranch gold quartz ledge was the richest ever discovered. 

Some of the quartz mines worked in 1859, were still 
yielding gold when I was last there in 1886. Massa- 
chusetts hill was very rich in quartz bearing rock. 

It was situated a mile from Grass Valley on the south side of 
Boston Ravine. A little to the north of Massachusetts hill 
is Gold hill, which had a rich quartz ledge. Men made 
sixteen dollars a day crushing the croppings of the ledge 
with a hand mortar, when the ledge was first discovered. 

An Englishman sold a claim eighty feet square for five 
thousand dollars. We could see gold in nearly every bucket- 
ful taken from the earth. There was a good ledge on 
Church hill, this side of Gold hill, near the village of Grass 
Valley. I heard that each of the company made $75,000 
clear of expense. Lafayette ledge was being worked when 
I was there in 1886. 

The Empire Company had a quartz mill on Wolf Creek, 
near Boston Ravine. They had a good ledge on Ophir hill, 
about one mile east of Grass Valley. They afterwards 
moved their mill on to the hill, so as to be near the ledge. 
Work was going on at this mill in 1886. 


There was another quartz ledge on Osborne hill, about 
four miles northeast of Grass Valley, owned by Wood & 
Co., where my brother and I worked for a while when we 
first came to Grass Valley. A mill was put up in the ravine 
near the hill. It ran for a while and then stopped. I never 
heard of its starting up again. I am inclined to think the 
mine did not pay. 

A large twenty-four stamp mill was put up near Union 
hill, situated about one mile north of Grass Valley, which 
ran for a while, and then stopped, and I think never started 
up again. When I was there in 1886, I found it difficult 
to find the place where the mill used to stand. The ledge 
was four feet thick. Gold could be seen in the rock. 
When the company quit work they could not pay their help. 
We lost three hundred dollars by them. One of the com- 
pany offered us his gold watch and chain, which we refused 
to take, as we wanted the money. We never obtained any- 
thing for our work. 

I suppose there are other quartz ledges near Grass Val- 
ley that I have not described; new ones are being discov- 
ered nearly every year. A company that had some rich 
claims on Gold hill lost the lead. They told their men that 
if they found it again they would give them a thousand dol- 
lars. The company kept the men at work and found it 
again, richer than ever. 

An Englishman that had some rich claims on Massachu- 
setts hill, lost the lead, or the ledge did not pay, and could 
not pay his bills. He was very proud and a high liver, hav- 
ing wine on his table every day. His help kept dunning 


him for their pay. His bad luck worked on his mind so that 
he poisoned himself, his wife, and two children. He left a 
note stating that he did not see how he could pay his bills, 
and had made up his mind to kill himself. He thought his 
wife and children would be better off out of the world, than 
in it with no money. He and his family had many friends, 
and were much liked in Grass Valley. His claims after- 
wards paid well, and he would have been all right, if he had 
not got discouraged. My brother and I atone time worked 
prospecting for quartz rock on Osborne hill. The claim 
did not pay. and so the owner could not pay us. He was 
owing us three hundred dollars for work. My brother saw 
him in San Francisco on our way home, and managed to 
secure seventy -five dollars. The rest we had to lose. We 
thought the man honest, but without the money to pay. 

Quartz ledges are usually found on the top of the hills, 
called croppings of the ledge. They descend into the hill 
at an angle of about forty-five degrees, more or less. The 
pitch of the ledge is determined, and then a shaft is sunk 
in front of the ledge fifty to one hundred feet, till the ledge 
is struck. A drift is then run at the bottom of the shaft on 
both sides on the line of the ledge, one hundred feet each 
way, and the rock is taken out to the croppings. Another 
shaft is then put down on the line of the ledge and worked 
in the same way as the first shaft. If the ledge is found to 
be rich at the bottom of the shaft, another line of shafts is 
put down in front of the first, or an inclined shaft is put in 
and worked in the same way. Water is usually found at 
the depth of one hundred feet, and the air is frequently 


found to be bad. An engine is used to pump out the water 
and to pump good air into the mine, and take out the quartz 
rock and pay dirt. Some ledges are worked by a tunnel, 
others by an inclined shaft. 

There were two tunnels in Gold hill, one owned by Con- 
way & Company, the other by the Gold Hill Mining Com- 
pany, the latter an English company. The Church Hill 
Mining Company used an inclined shaft. A Catholic 
church had been built on the hill, giving the name, Church 
hill. The shaft was nine feet wide and three and a half 
feet high. The shaft had to be well timbered to prevent 
the earth from caving in. The shaft was commenced on 
top of the ground, and followed down on the ledge as far as 
they wish to go. A track was laid in the shaft, and the 
rock and waste dirt were taken out with a car. At the bot- 
tom of the shaft a turntable was constructed. 

Spermaceti candles had to be used to light up the drifts. 
I think the Allison Ranche Gold Mining Company used an 
inclined shaft to work their mine. Their shaft was down 
one thousand feet, when I left in 1859. The company had 
paid $1,000,000 in dividends. One of the company told me 
his dividends amounted to five hundred dollars a week. 

I helped prospect a quartz ledge situated in my upper 
claims above the point diggings, on the edge of Pike Flat. 
The company struck the croppings of the ledge by accident, 
while we were at work on the claims, washing out gold. We 
obtained two hundred dollars in gold out of a panful of the 
croppings. It was a big prospect and in a good locality, 
and we thought we had a big thing. An article was put 


into the Grass Valley paper, giving an account of our big 
find. An engine had to pump out the water, as it was very 
wet. We did not care to go to the expense of buying and 
running an engine, so we gave the company half the mine 
for the use of their engine. We put in an inclined shaft 
and did all the work below ground. We worked till the 
ledge gave out and came to solid rock the whole length of 
the drift. We told the company that furnished the engine, 
that we did not think it was of any use to work any longer, 
but told them we would work till they said stop. They 
thought as we did, and stopped work, calling it a bad job. 

We took out about forty tons of gold bearing rock. It 
paid well, what there was of it, but not enough to pay our 
expenses. The company that put in the engine lost from 
twelve to fifteen hundred dollars. We lost in labor, tools, 
and the cost of putting in the shaft. There were five in the 

Most of the ledges are not solid rock; there is usually 
pay dirt above and below the ledge. Most of the quartz 
rock can be taken out with a pick and iron bar. The large 
pieces usually do not weigh more than seventy-five to one 
hundred pounds, from that down to small pieces. Some- 
times the ledge is solid, and has to be blasted. The Allison 
Ranche ledge ran into the solid rock after it had been 
worked one hundred feet, and had to be blasted. But the 
gold quartz rock was four or five feet, and very rich. La- 
fayette ledge, also, had to be blasted. The solid quartz rock 
sometimes is put on to cord wood; then the wood is set on 
fire to make it easier to crush. 


The Union Quartz Mill was the largest in Grass Valley, 
having twenty-four stamps. The smallest mill had five 
stamps. One stamp weighs about twelve hundred pounds. 
The lower part is made of iron, which is fastened to a piece 
of timber six or seven feet in length, and six inches square. 
The stamps are worked up and down in a large iron mortar 
by steam power. While the quartz rock is crushed, water is 
run into the mortar with the quartz rock. After the rock is 
crushed very fine, it is run together with the gold through a 
fine sieve into a trough covered with woolen blankets, where 
some of the gold stops. What does not stop here runs 
down into some batteries, where quicksilver is used to gather 
the fine particles of gold. The batteries are set in motion 
by a belt from the engine, so as to cause the gold to settle 
to the bottom. The blankets are changed quite often. 

The gold is washed off the blankets into a tub, cleaned 
and made ready for the market in the same way as in placer 
mining, only a retort is used instead of an iron pan, so as to 
save all the quicksilver. 

A history of the Allison Mine, at this point, might prove 
interesting. The ledge was discovered by accident. It 
was named after the owner of the ranch on which it was 
discovered. Some miners who were working in Wolf 
Creek noticed the outcroppings, and thinking the rock 
looked rich, mined a few tons and had them crushed at the 
quartz mill, little thinking it was the richest ledge ever dis- 
covered. The outcroppings paid big. They mined enough 
to pay for putting in an eighteen stamp mill, and their for- 
tune was made. 


The quartz mills in Grass Valley got fifteen dollars a ton 
for crushing the rock and cleaning the gold ready for mar- 
ket. And they were glad to do it at that price. 

As I was acquainted but little in other parts of California, 
T have made no attempt to describe any mines except those 
in or near Grass Valley. 




We visited Nevada and Rough and Ready several times, 
when we could not work on our own claim for want of water. 
Nevada has always been the county seat of Nevada county. 

We worked by the day and month, sunk shafts by the 
foot, and cut cord wood to get money to buy into some of 
the mining companies and to learn the business. 

We made enough the first year to buy into a company, 
and went to work on our own claims. 

While my brother was at work drifting, he was told that 
good paying claims could be had in the Point Mining Com- 
pany. My brother decided to have an interest, and for- 
warded three hundred dollars to pay for it. For many 
months he was without the interest and the money, but 
finally the money was returned with interest. Both of us 
secured an interest in the same mine later, which proved a 
good investment. 

The Point Mining Company claims were situated on a 
point running into Pike Flat, opposite Woodpecker ravine, 
about a quarter of a mile from Grass Valley. 

The company included seven or eight men, each man 
having different interests; one being a quarter, another an 
eighth, etc, Each man was entitled to five dollars a work- 
ing day. The man having the largest interest was the over- 


seer or boss, and he hired all the men, and did all the busi- 
ness. After expenses were paid, the rest paid dividends. 
The company settled with the men every Saturday night. 
Most of the company lived in a log cabin near the mine, 
and worked with the men. One of the members of the 
company, Daniel Russell, lived with us. Ernest, from 
Texas, one of the company, who held the largest interest 
and was the " boss," sold out to a man by the name of Nephie, 
who had come from New York to California by way of 
Cape Horn, with Russell. Nephie then became "boss." 
He went home with $16,000, having worked in the claims 
between two and three years. I was in his cabin once, a 
short time before he left, and he had eight thousand dol- 
lars in gold dust in a bowl on the table. He said that was 
half his fortune, as he had already sent home eight thous- 
and dollars. His home was in Newburgh, New York. 
Ernest, after arriving in New York, wrote to us, and stated 
that the heat was greater than he had ever known it in 
Texas. We afterwards learned that both he and Nephie 
arrived home safely with their little fortunes. 

Daniel Russell staid in the cabin with us until the arrival 
of my brothers, Sherman and Edward, and was there when 
we left in 1853. Three of us lived in a cabin twelve feet 
square, for which we paid fifty dollars, and boarded our- 
selves. The members of the company used to visit each 
other frequently. The " boss's " cabin was the headquarters. 

Some members of the company assisted the "boss" in 
cleaning and disposing of the gold. Any member of the 
company was at liberty to see the "boss" cleaning and dis- 


posing of the gold, and he usually invited the members who 
happened to be about the cabin to go with him. Gold and 
silver composed the money used in California at that time. 

We had letters from home once a month, and sometimes 
oftener, and found them a great treat. The miners used to 
start for the village, as soon as they heard a steamer had 
arrived with the mail. A steamer edition of the Boston 
Journal we usually bought of a newsdealer in Grass Valley. 

In the fall of 1853 we received a letter from my brother 
Sherman, stating that he and my brother Edward had ar- 
rived at Downesville, California, having made the journey 
across the plains. For they had heard from mother the 
year before, when they started, that we were in Grass Val- 
ley. Edward was sick in bed with the mountain fever. 
They were out of money, but said nothing to us of the fact. 
Sherman worked in a restaurant, until such time as Edward 
should be able to travel, to get money to pay doctor's bills 
and other expenses. They each paid thirty dollars to get 
across the plains, and drove cattle for their board. They 
walked from Downesville to Grass Valley, a distance of 
seventy-five miles. 

One night as I was coming up from the claim with a pail 
of water to get supper, I met Sherman looking for us. If 
two men were glad to see one another, we were. We went 
down to the village and found Edward. They had sepa- 
rated in order to find us the more readily. 

After we had all arrived at the cabin, Theodore suggest- 
ed that we get supper at the best hotel in the village. No, 
they only wanted potatoes and salt. We got them a good 


supper, but they did not eat much besides potatoes and salt, 
nor did they eat anything else for a week. They had been 
without potatoes and vegetables all summer, and it seemed 
impossible for them to get enough. 

We sat up till late in the night, talking about friends at 
home, their journey across the plains, and our prospects in 
California, and we kept it up for a week. 

Brother Sherman lacked a few months of being twenty 
years old. Edward was two years younger. After their ar- 
rival they lived with us for a time, Russell going to another 
cabin. Four men living in a cabin twelve feet square and 
boarding themselves. What would the people in old Massa- 
chusetts think of such doings? Many of the miners who 
had plenty of money were living in the same way. 

For quite a number of years before and after my brothers 
crossed the plains, large numbers of cattle and horses were 
purchased in Missouri and the adjoining states, and driven 
across the plains to California. Cattle could be bought in 
Missouri for ten dollars a head, that would bring over one 
hundred dollars in California. Horses that cost only thirty 
or forty dollars, after being driven across the plains, sold for 
two hundred dollars. Many emigrants brought their fami- 
lies in covered wagons, drawn by four and six yoke of oxen. 
They cooked their own food outside the wagons, and stopped 
at night to sleep. They averaged only eight or ten miles a 
day, and even then the feet of the cattle frequently became so 
sore that they had to be covered with buffalo hide. It was 
a rough journey, and many cattle and horses died on the 


way. But much money was made in the business. The 
building of the Pacific Railroad put a stop to this kind of 

When Sherman and Edward had been with us about a 
week, Sherman said, " Ed., I guess we had better start for 
the southern mines. We've been here long enough." Wild 
as two hawks! With some difficulty we persuaded them to 
stay with us, for we were convinced that mining in the south 
was no more profitable than at Grass Valley. 

One evening, some days later, as we were walking down 
town to hear some speaking by different candidates for 
county officers, Sherman called my attention to a tall well- 
dressed man, whom he said he thought he knew. I advised 
him not to speak to the man, for fear he might be mistaken. 

As the speakers, one after another, were presented to the 
audience, this man was introduced as Wm. M. Stewart, of 
Nevada City, candidate for district attorney for Nevada 
county. After the speaking was over, Sherman made his 
way to Mr. Stewart, and asked him if he was not a graduate 
of Yale. Mr. Stewart said, "Yes." My brother said he 
was Fletcher, Yale '52. Stewart said that Sherman had 
changed so much since he had last seen him, that he did 
not know him. And that was not strange, for Sherman had 
on an old blouse he had worn across the plains, and was 
very thin in flesh. They had a long talk that evening. 
Sherman did not get back to the cabin till after midnight. 
This Stewart is now United States Senator from the state 
of Nevada, serving his third term. 

Stewart invited Sherman to come to Nevada City and 


make him a visit. He also offered him the privilege of 
studying law with him, using his office, books, etc. We 
told Sherman he had better go, and gave him two twenty 
dollar gold pieces. He went down town, bought a new suit 
of clothes, had his hair cut, and his beard taken off, and 
looked like a different man. He visited Stewart, and after 
returning to Grass Valley, was eager to begin the study of 
law at once. We advised him to do so, since he was fitted 
by education for just that kind of business. We agreed to 
furnish him with all the money he needed, which he could 
pay back when he was ready. We gave him fifty dollars 
and he started for Nevada. We did not see him again for 
a week. The prominent lawyers in Nevada seemed to like 
him, and gave him the opportunity to take evidence in court, 
collect doubtful bills, etc. In this way he picked up con- 
siderable money, but not enough to pay his bills. We gave 
him money whenever he called for it. 

One Sunday after he had begun the study of law, he 
came to visit us. We noticed he had lost flesh, and did not 
look as well as usual. We asked him if he was well. He 
said, "Yes." But we found out that he had been living in a 
log cabin with some miners, so as not to spend so much 
money for board. We advised him to board at a good 
hotel, and told him he would soon have money enough. 
And so it proved, for the following winter he was appointed 
editor of a paper, at a salary of twenty-five dollars a week, 
the proprietor being lawyer Searles. 

Soon after the boys arrived in Grass Valley, Theodore 
sold to Edward an interest in a claim at Wolf Creek for 


one hundred and twenty-five dollars. He was to pay when 
he got the money. He got enough out of the claim to 
pay for it, and then sold it for what he gave. He then 
went to work by the day. The claim was situated some 
distance from the cabin, and besides he wanted to live near 
his work. The claim, too, would soon be worked out. 

We still worked on the Point claims, which paid well. 
One time, when we were cleaning up for the day, the Ortho- 
dox minister made us a visit, and seeing we had a good 
quantity of gold for our day's work, asked us for a subscrip- 
tion to aid him in building a new church. He was then 
preaching in a hall over the drug store in town. Two of 
us subscribed five dollars each. The "boss," and those who 
did not subscribe anything, made lots of fun of us for "giv- 
ing to the priest." Later we found the "boss" had given 
twenty-five dollars to build the Methodist South, and we had 
a laugh on him, too. 

For two days, July 3 and 4, a fair was held to help the 
Orthodox church. The building was put up and boarded, 
but they did not have money enough to finish the inside. 
The ladies took hold of the work, and we all" had a good 
time. Fifteen hundred dollars was cleared. Brother Theo- 
dore and I went in the evenings and spent twenty-five or 
thirty dollars each. The last night of the fair all articles 
not sold were disposed of at auction. Many of the mill 
owners and business men of the town were there to help 
the church. For the stronger the church, the weaker the 
power of the gambling hells and saloons would be. The 
mill owners would bid against one another at the auction 


on articles worth only a few dollars, and run them up some- 
times as high as fifty dollars. They did not care for the 
money as long as it went for the church. There was a 
good deal of sport at the auction. There was a large attend- 
ance at the fair both evenings. 

During my second visit to California I was present at 
another fair, gotten up for the benefit of the Episcopal 
church. The fair was held in an unfinished schoolhouse. 
The admission was five dollars. The ladies furnished the 
supper free, of course. They began dancing before supper, 
and so offended the minister that he left. Lawyer Dibble 
took charge of the arrangements afterwards, and everybody 
had a good time. A large sum of money was realized, as 
the party was well attended. That was the last dancing 
party I ever attended, taking an active part. The loss of 
my leg put a stop to my dancing arrangements. 

This same minister, who showed his bad temper by leav- 
ing the party, afterwards took an equally abrupt departure 
from town at the point of the pistol. A storekeeper in the 
village accused him of making too frequent calls on his wife. 
Finally things came to a crisis, and the unfortunate minis- 
ter was seen running from Grass Valley, chased by the irate 
storekeeper, pistol in hand. He was lost sight of at Marys- 
ville, however. It is safe to say that he never showed his 
head again at Grass Valley. 




Late in the fall of 1853, my brother Theodore and I 
thought of going home. We sold our interests in the Point 
claims about December 10, 1853, for what they had cost us, 
after working them for a year. We gave Sherman what 
money he thought he should need. He gave his note, 
which he paid when he got the money a year or two later. 
Edward decided to stay and work in the mines. He con- 
tinued to live in our cabin. 

We bade good bye to our brothers, partners and friends, 
and started for home about the middle of December. Theo- 
dore never saw Sherman again. We took the stage for 
Sacramento at twelve o'clock at night. Edward and Sher- 
man saw us off. We had our gold in buckskin bags in a 
valise. We arrived at San Francisco with our gold all 
right, at ten o'clock the next night. 

On our journey to Sacramento and later on the boat, I 
noticed a man who seemed to be staring at me every time 
I looked at him. Theodore noticed it also. We concluded 
he was one of those fellows, only too numerous in Califor- 
nia, who would take our gold from us if he had a good 
chance. Arriving in San Francisco, we landed our gold in 
the express office as soon as possible. Here, too, we saw 
the same man who stared at us so much on the journey. 


He, too, deposited his gold dust. He was a miner, just out 
of the mines. We had a talk with him later. We found he 
had been just as suspicious of us as we had been of him. 
We all three of us had a great scare for nothing. 

Upon depositing our gold dust at the Adams Express 
office, we were told that it would cost three per cent, to 
send it home, but if we would give the company the use of 
it until the first of May, the express charges would be noth- 
ing at all. We concluded to do the latter, and obtained the 
money all right the first of May. There were three 
steamers going out of San Francisco on the same day, with 
passengers and freight for New York, all in opposition to 
one another, two by way of Panama, and one by the Nica- 
ragua route. We bought second cabin tickets by Nicaragua 
for ninety dollars through to New York. I heard after- 
wards that steerage tickets were sold for twenty-five dollars 
each, an hour before the steamers sailed. This was quite a 
reduction from the cost of a ticket going out, for we had paid 
one hundred and eighty dollars each for much inferior accom- 
modations. I was informed that the steamship companies 
paid twenty-five dollars for transporting each passenger 
across the Isthmus of Panama by rail, for the Panama rail- 
way had just been completed. 

Opposition is the life of trade, and travel, too. There 
was some betting among the passengers as to which line 
would be the first to reach New York. Our steamer had 
a hot box, a few days out from San Francisco. The crew 
had to pump water from the ocean to cool it. 

Off the Gulf of Tehuantepec we encountered a severe 


storm. One of the passengers who had never been to sea 
before, having crossed the plains in going to California, 
thought the ship had struck a rock. So scared was he that 
he ran up on deck in his night clothes, intending to jump 
overboard. The ship was in no danger, and the unfortunate 
man was laughed at not a little by the passengers the next 
morning, for getting so excited for nothing. 

A few days before we arrived at the Isthmus we could 
see the fire coming out of the mountains at night. It was 
volcanoes. Nothing else of importance occurred on our voy- 
age to Juan del Sur. The steamer anchored about half a 
mile from the town. There were no wharves. The pas- 
sengers were taken in rowboats as far as the boats could go, 
and then carried to dry land on the backs of the natives, so 
that we did not wet our feet, though it was rather a dis- 
agreeable way of travelling, especially for the ladies, of whom 
there were quite a number. There were hundreds of the 
natives on shore, with mules saddled and bridled, ready to 
take us across to the lake. The distance was only twelve 

We landed about ten o'clock in the morning, and before 
starting for the lake I purchased a breakfast, consisting of 
bread, ham, coffee and eggs, mostly eggs. I never saw such 
a place for eggs. They were peddled about the streets the 
same as oranges or other fruit, boiled harder than brickbats. 
After dinner I picked out a good looking mule, and giving 
my ticket to a Spaniard, mounted. But the animal refused 
to go. The man gave me a switch, and by signs told me to 
strike the mule over the head. This I did. Away went 


the mule at a lively rate. Sometimes she would stop and 
back, but with a good application of the switch over the 
head, would go on again. I did not apply the switch to any 
other part of the mule's body to see what the effect would 
be. I thought it best to let well enough alone. The pas- 
sengers kept together all the way to the lake. Some had 
hard work to make their mules go at all. Arriving at the 
lake I left the mule in the street, according to the orders of 
the man of whom I had obtained it in Juan del Sur. 

There were no hills to trouble us, and the travelling was 
much better than at Panama; the climate, too, was very 
much better. We did not hear of any sickness on our way 
across. The best cup of chocolate I ever had, I bought of 
an old woman at the lake. The inhabitants had things to 
sell the passengers, such as tropical fruits and sea shells, as 
at Acapulco and other places where we stopped. 

We started to go across the lake in the afternoon of the 
day we arrived. It was very stormy most of the night. I 
thought we should go to the bottom before morning. 

We arrived at the mouth of the river San Juan about ten 
o'clock the next morning. We then took another small 
steamer, that was waiting for us to go down the river. At 
one place we had to land and walk by some rapids, below 
which we embarked upon another steamboat, which took us 
to Greytown, on the Atlantic coast. We went down some 
very steep rapids in the San Juan on the second boat. At 
night the boat was tied to a tree on the bank. Near the 
landing where we stopped for the night lived a negro and 
his wife. They had been slaves in South Carolina and 



bought their freedom. They provided the passengers with 
supper, consisting mostly of eggs, as usual, for which we 
paid them the modest sum of fifty cents. They did not 
cook fast enough, and some of the passengers assisted them. 
Quite a number of the passengers would be eating at one 
time, and when they finished another lot would come up 
from the boat. This was kept up all night. The negro and 
his wife made a good sum out of the passengers that night. 
Some of the passengers tried to keep the others from sleep- 
ing, and kept up a racket all night. It was taken good 
naturedly, but I think very few slept on the boat that night. 

At daylight the next morning we started for Greytown, 
arriving there about the middle of the afternoon. We took 
our supper on shore. In fact, we always took our meals on 
shore when we could. 

At this place the alligators were very troublesome, kill- 
ing many of the natives, especially when they went into the 
water. Before dark we went on board the steamer, Star of 
the West, which was waiting for us. It was the same ship 
that the United States government sent to provision Fort 
Sumter in the spring of 1861. The steamer was anchored 
a mile from shore, and was reached by rowboats. She sailed 
sometime during the night for New York. At daylight the 
next morning we were nearly out of sight of land. Our liv- 
ing on board the Star of the West was excellent, fully as 
good as at any hotel I was ever in, roast turkey and beef, 
chicken, all kinds of fruit, and everything else that was good. 
We sat at the same table as first cabin passengers. Our 
sleeping arrangements were inferior to those of the first 
cabin passengers, but very good. 


One stormy morning, off the Island of Cuba, we saw an- 
other steamer going in the same direction we were, sup- 
posed to be one of the opposition lines that started with us 
from San Francisco. The steamer went ahead of us, but 
was in sight two or three days. At one time we lost sight 
of it, but saw it again when nearing New York. We were 
anxious to reach New York first. Our captain said he 
would be in New York first, and so it proved. The captain 
said he knew the way to New York, as well as he knew the 
cow-path in his father's pasture at home. 

The fireman put barrels of pork, rosin and other combusti- 
bles into the furnaces to make steam. The fire came out 
of the smokestack to the height of six feet. The captain 
stood over the pilot-house to direct the ship. Two men 
were at the wheel. The first mate was at the wheel, also, to 
make sure the orders were obeyed. The wheels went faster 
and faster, but without gaining on the other steamer It 
seemed impossible for our boat to go any faster. 

Our boat being only twelve hundred tons burden, while 
the other was three thousand tons, we could go straight to 
New York, while the other would be obliged to take a pilot, 
and go through a crooked channel. We reached quaran- 
tine fifteen minutes before our rival, and as they came up, 
all our company assembled in the after part of the boat and 
gave them three times three. 

We made the passage from San Francisco to New York 
in twenty-three days, the shortest time on record up to that 


About the eighth of January, at nine o'clock, we were in 
New York, glad and thankful to have a good bed for the 
first time in two years. 

We reached Littleton on the tenth of January, and spent 
the rest of the winter in visiting, and talking of the wonder- 
ful gold country. 

I showed a neighbor a piece of gold, and asked what he 
thought it was worth. He guessed about five dollars, and 
seemed much surprised when I said it was worth fifty dol- 

I believe we were the first men to reach Littleton who 
were better off than when we started, although several had 
gone to California. Everyone was anxious to hear of our 

I stayed at home a year, and bought a farm, but finding it 
did not pay as well as mining, sold out. 




Late in the fall of 1854 I was stopping at home. My 
father had a chaise he wanted to sell. I started into the 
country, and went in the direction of Princeton and Phillips- 
ton. Not being able to sell the chaise I tried to trade it 
for a cow or heifer. 

At night I stopped at a hotel at Templeton. I knew my 
father had some cousins at Templeton, named White. I 
enquired for them, and learned that Asa White lived near 
the hotel. 

I called on Asa White, but not finding him in returned 
to the hotel. Very soon Mr. White came and invited me 
to spend the night at his home, which I was very glad to do. 
I knew him very well. He used to keep a pump and lead 
pipe store on Dock Square, Boston. Father used to supply 
his family with butter, eggs and berries from the farm. I 
remembered seeing him when I went to Boston with father, 
when a boy. 

I told Mr. White my errand, and he advised me to put 
the chaise in his swamp in the morning, pile brush around 
it, and set the whole on fire. I concluded to take the chaise 
back to Littleton. Chaises were out of style, and were be- 
ginning to be hard to sell. 


Asa White was a very hospitable man, and good company. 
He was a good hand to tell stories, and a great hand to 
speculate. I told him I intended to return to California. 
Mr. White said he had five thousand apple trees he would 
like to have me take to California. I told Mr. White I did 
not want to take them, as I should not know what to do 
with them. He appeared anxious to have me take the trees 
with me, and at last I consented. Mr. White was to box 
them up, and send them to me at Littleton. He was to 
have one-half the money for the trees, after deducting ex- 
penses. They were small trees, about six inches long. A 
small box held them all. 

I tried to sell them to a nurseryman at Sacramento City, 
but did not have an offer for them. I sold them at Marys- 
ville for forty dollars. This just-about paid expenses. That 
was the last of the tree speculation. 

Asa White had been to California, and I think he said 
he had been in business in Sacramento City. 

Theodore, my brother, thought I had better take some 
money back with me, that I might buy into some claims as 
soon as I arrived in Grass Valley. I sent seven hundred 
dollars by the Adams Express Company. No charge was 
made for taking the money to California, as money had to be 
shipped from here to pay for gold dust. 

I bought a first cabin ticket, for which I paid two hun- 
dred and fifty dollars. I went by way of Panama. 

When the steamer sailed from New York, there was the 
usual sad leave taking of friends of the passengers. Per- 
sons on board would run out to the end of the wharf to sav 


goodbye. Some were weeping; ladies waved their handker- 
chiefs, but we were soon out sight of land, and I was glad 
of it. This exhibition was confined mostly to steerage pas- 

Nothing unusual occurred during the voyage, except one 

A day or two before arriving at Panama, a lady passen- 
ger died of consumption. Her brother was in California, 
and had sent for her, hoping the climate would benefit her 
health. When she came on board at New York she was 
assisted by two nurses, she was so feeble. 

Her sister and friends sat opposite me at the table. One 
morning I noticed their seats were vacant. I inquired of a 
passenger the cause of their absence, and learned the invalid 
had died during the night. She was buried on the Isthmus. 
What a sad funeral, so far from home, and in a strange 

On the Pacific side of the Isthmus we stopped at Acapulco 
and San Diego, in Southern California to leave the mails. 
I arrived in San Francisco the second time January i, 1854. 

After selling my apple trees, I went to Grass Valley, 
where lived my two brothers, Sherman and Edward. Sher- 
man was district attorney for Nevada County; previously 
he had edited a newspaper. 

I was soon at work at my old business, and bought an 
interest in my old claims at the same price I had sold them 
for the previous year. 

I was lucky enough to draw all my money from the Adams 
Express Company three weeks before the company failed. 


My brothers were interested in some claims in Shady 
Creek. Two shares were for sale for eight hundred dollars. 
We added two more partners, and bought the claims. They 
were in the bed of the creek and had not been much work- 
ed. We were also entitled to bank claims on the side of the 

My brother, being a lawyer, hired a man named George 
Edmunds to work in his place. This man afterwards 
bought Sherman's interest for five hundred dollars, and be- 
came one of the company. We were glad to have him for 
a partner. He was a good fellow to work, and a good fel- 
low every way. Edmunds afterwards sold his claim for 
seven hundred and fifty dollars. Placer mines were getting 
scarce, and we thought they would be valuable in a few 
years, as, in fact it proved. 

The claims were twelve miles west of Nevada City, near 
Oak Tree Ranch, between Cherokee and San Juan. 

Provisions and mining tools being much cheaper at Grass 
Valley, we bought a two-horse load of them, and had them 
transported to Shady Creek. 

We had worked here about a year when other parties put 
in a dam at the foot of our claims to take the water out of 
the creek to go to French corral by flume and ditch to wash 
some hydraulic claims situated there. To back the water on 
our claims would ruin them. I told my brother Sherman 
about the matter. He wasnow.practisinglawat Nevada City, 
his office as district attorney having expired. He told me 
to tear the dam out. The water had been taken out of there 
before, but the dam had been abandoned for about two 


years. It looked like having a lawsuit on our hands. My 
brother advised not to have a lawsuit, if I could help it, for 
he said it would cost a thousand dollars at least. On the 
day we destroyed the dam, Charlie Cornell, who kept the 
Oak Tree Ranch, told me that we would all be in jail before 
night, for the parties who had constructed the dam were 
rich and powerful. I said I thought we were able to take 
care of ourselves. The parties who put in the dam went 
to Nevada for writs to arrest us. But through the influence 
of Stewart and McConnell, their attorneys, and my brother 
Sherman, the matter was compromised. The water was to 
be taken out a mile further up the creek in a ditch round 
the hill, and across my claims in a flume. I furnished two 
men for three weeks to assist them in their work, the other 
parties doing the same. Our claims were thus saved from 
injury, and we had no further trouble. The other parties, 
however, still claimed they had the right to put in the dam. 
For about eight months in the year, when there was water, 
I worked on my claims in Grass Valley, and Edward took 
charge of the mines at Shady Creek. Our company got 
into another dispute at Shady Creek. One day, when I 
was at work at Grass Valley, I received a note from Ed- 
ward at Shady Creek, stating that some parties living near 
had "jumped" one of our bank claims, and he and Nevins, 
one of the company, could not get them off the ground, and 
I was asked to come at once. I started in the afternoon of 
the same day, which happened to be Saturday, arriving at 
Shady Creek at night. Sunday we all took a walk to Chero- 
kee. From what Edward and Nevins said I inferred that 


they came near having a free fight, trying to get the men off 
the ground. The man who "jumped " the ground was from 
Northern Georgia, and had friends living near by. He had 
said at Cherokee, that he would leave his dead body on the 
ground before he would give up an inch of the claim. I 
told my partners I did not consider a man very dangerous 
who would talk that way. 

Monday morning after listening to all kinds of advice 
from my other partners, I asked George Edmunds, a big, 
powerful man, who I thought would come out first in a 
fight, if he would go up with me and help get them off. He 
consented. I told the others to keep out of sight, for I 
thought I could secure possession of the claims better with- 
out them, as they had tried their hand and failed. Edward 
advised me to take the pistol, for we had a good Colt's re- 
volver in the cabin, as they were a "tough crowd." I 
thought best not to take it, however, and laid it on the 
table. George Edmunds and I took our picks and shovels 
and started for the disputed ground, which wasaboutaquarter 
of a mile from the cabin, leaving the rest behind. They were 
near us when we arrived on the disputed ground, but kept 
behind the trees out of sight. The claim was staked off, 
and a notice had been put up on a tree, forbidding any one 
working the ground. I tore down the notice, pulled up the 
stakes and threw them into the creek, and told George to 
sink a shaft, I doing the same. I thought this would bring 
things to a head, and it did. Very soon the Georgian put 
in appearance, trembling with excitement, and wanted to 
know why we were at work on his claim. George and I 


stopped work, and listened to what he had to say. After 
he had got through with his story, I told him our company 
laid claim to a hundred feet square of the ground in dispute, 
that we were entitled to a bank claim, according to the laws 
of the district, being owners of the creek claims. We had 
come to Shady Creek, bought the ground, and paid our 
money for it. There was no use fighting, for that would not 
settle the dispute. He finally admitted that we were en- 
titled to the bank claim, in front of his claim that had been 
worked out. The hundred feet took in all the lead, and was 
all we wanted. He sent for a tape line, and measuring the 
hundred feet square, gave up the ground. The other part- 
ners, seeing that the dispute was settled, came down to 
where we were, and also the Georgian's partners, of whom 
there were quite a number, and we had quite a crowd 
present before we went away. They commenced staking 
off the ground to our front and right, on the hill. Ed. said 
he would not have them staking off ground that did not be- 
long to them. I told him there was nothing there. We had 
all we claimed and all the lead. I went back to Grass Val- 
ley. There was no more trouble. Edward worked the 
the ground afterwards. It paid sixteen dollars per man for 
several weeks. The claim in dispute was on a point of land 
running down into the creek, making a sudden turn in the 
creek. A lead of gold ran through it. The other party's 
claim went about half way across this. We claimed one 
hundred feet square beyond them. How did that lead get 
into the point of land ? This was a puzzle. Gold was found 
hundreds of feet down in the earth ; at other places, but a 


few feet from the surface; sometimes there was no lead, but 
all the dirt paid, from the top down to the bed-rock. There 
was no rule about finding these leads. Miners had to hunt 
for them with pick and shovel and pan. Sometimes rich 
leads were discovered by accident. Some rivers, creeks and 
ravines were very rich, others not worth working. 

We worked on our claims at Shady Creek for two years, 
and then sold out for eight hundred dollars each, which was 
four or five times as much as we paid. One of the partners 
sold his share later for one thousand dollars. About a week 
or ten days after we had sold the claims, Edward and I went 
up to Cherokee for the money for two interests. I had pos- 
session of one of my partner's interest for some money I 
had let him have. Turner, one of the new company, paid 
one thousand dollars, all in twenty dollar gold pieces. The 
rest was to be paid within a week. It was about five miles 
from Cherokee to our cabin, through the woods, and there 
were no houses or cabins on the road. When we started 
to return with the money, it was nearly dark. Turner 
wanted to know if we had a pistol. We said, "No." He 
advised us to take one of his, as he did not think it safe for 
us to go without one with so much money. Ed. took the 
pistol and went ahead a short distance. I followed with 
the money I told Ed. if anyone said anything to him to 
shoot him on the spot, and I would run with the money. 
We arrived at the cabin in safety, not having seen anyone 
on the road. 

Sherman wanted I should invest what spare money I had 
in real estate in Nevada City, saying that I could get better 


interest there than at home. I thought, however, I had 
better send it home, to replace the money I had brought 
with me. And lucky for me that I did, for Nevada City 
had a $2,000,000 fire shortly afterwards, which destroyed 
most of the city, and in which my brother Sherman lost his 

One day, when Sherman was visiting us, he asked me if 
I would like to be superintendent of roads and streets in 
Grass Valley township. He said he could get the position for 
me, if I wanted it. I told him I could not attend to it, as I 
had all I could do to look after my various mining claims, 
for I had bought into a number of companies. 

Our company on the Point claims bought a lot of lumber 
of Sam Robbins, now living in Carlisle in this state, for 
making two lines of sluice boxes about three hundred feet 
long, also a lot of plank and timber for "timbering up" an 
inclined shaft to prospect a quartz ledge we had found on 
our upper claims. Robbins hauled his logs to a saw mill, 
and took his pay in lumber, which he sold to miners, and 
anyone else wanting it. We could get the lumber much 
cheaper of him than at the saw-mill. It cost him nothing 
to keep his oxen; he would turn them out at night, and 
they would get plenty to eat, and would be ready to go to 
work in the morning. He put a bell on one of the oxen, 
so that he could find them in the morning. The land be- 
longing to the government, and was free for everybody 
There were plenty of trees for lumber all about the country. 

Two of my partners had an interest in a quartz ledge on 
Church hill. I worked for this company part of the sum- 


mer, during the dry season, when we had no water on our 
claims. They worked the claims day and night. The 
men that worked days one week, worked nights the next. 
Some of the owners worked in the mines with the help. It 
was cool in the drifts, a thing which made it pleasant work- 
ing in summer. 

One evening near the end of June 1856, as I was coming 
from the claims with a pail of water in my hand, I met two 
little girls who lived near our cabin, all out of breath from 
running. They said they were going to have a Fourth of 
July picnic. The children of Grass Valley, Nevada and 
Rough and Ready were going to assemble in a grove be- 
tween Grass Valley and Nevada. The girls were to be 
dressed in white, the children were going to sing and have 
recitations. One of the Nevada lawyers was to read the 
Declaration of Independence, another was to deliver an 
oration. Lemonade was to be free, "and, Mr. Fletcher, 
won't you please give us some money?" I asked them how 
much they wanted, and they said two dollars. I gave them 
the money, and away they ran. After they had gone a few 
rods, however, they turned round and told me I must come 
to the celebration. Ed and I went to the picnic, and the 
programme was carried out about as the girls said. There 
was a good attendance, and everyone had a good time. The 
children sang some very pretty songs. One of the best 
singers was Dr. Thompson's daughter, of Grass Valley. It 
was not an uncommon thing for miners to go to the Metho- 
dist church for the purpose of hearing her solos in the 
choir. The boys spoke some very pretty pieces, and all 


drank lots of lemonade. In the afternoon Edward and I 
left the picnic and went to a horse-race at Huser's ranch, 
about two miles away. The race was between two rival 
stables in Nevada City. Lancaster, the owner of one of 
the stables, said he had the best horse in Nevada. This 
claim was disputed by another stable-keeper. The two 
horses were driven by two boys horseback. The first start 
was a false one, but the Lancaster horse went the whole 
length of the track before the boy could stop him. The 
next start was all right and the Lancaster horse won. We 
saw quite a number of miners of our acquaintance at the 

On our return to Grass Valley we all went to an ice cream 
saloon, and treated one another to ice cream. 

There were only about three hundred children in the pro- 
cession at the picnic. Now there are fifteen hundred in 
Grass Valley alone, as I was informed when I was there in 




Soon after the Fourth of July, the water on one of our 
claims gave out, and four or five of our company, including 
myself, started on a prospecting tour in the mountains about 
six miles above Nevada, on Deer Creek, which runs through 
Nevada City. One of our partners had prospected there 
before with a pan, with very good results, as he thought ; 
but the gold was scaly and difficult to hold in the sluice. 
We took a two-horse load of mining tools, provisions, blank- 
ets and mattresses with us. We found- a deserted cabin 
near by, which we occupied while we were there. We 
worked the ground till the twentieth of July, but it did not 
pay to our satisfaction, and we made plans to return to Grass 
Valley. We did not work very hard ; it was a kind of 
summer vacation for us. 

The 19th of July, 1856, was Saturday. The next morn- 
ing we were all late in getting up. A man living near by 
came from Nevada City, and as he passed by the cabin 
shouted out that Nevada City was nearly all burnt down, 
and quite a number had perished in the flames. S. W 
Fletcher being, as he thought, one of the number, I start- 
ed for Nevada as soon as possible without any breakfast. 
Arriving at a hill overlooking the city, I could see that it 


was nearly all destroyed. Some of the inhabitants were 
encamped on the hill where I was, having lost everything. 
The neighboring towns had to send them provisions to keep 
them from starving. Sacramento, San Francisco, and other 
cities sent them clothing, and money, also. Arrivingat the 
ruins, I made inquiries for my brother, and soon found there 
was no doubt that he had perished in the flames. I pro- 
cured a horse and started for Shady Creek to get Edward. 
I met him and Charlie Cornell coming into Nevada. We 
both went to Grass Valley for a few days, until the ruins 
should cool. The remains were found a day or two after 
the fire. 

The funeral was from the house of Mr. Tweed, his part- 
ner. The lawyers of Nevada acted as pall-bearers, his 
friend Stewart being one of the number. It was Stewart 
who threw the first shovelful of dirt into my brother's grave, 
after the coffin had been lowered. 

I had a talk with the man who last saw Sherman alive, 
and was in the building when the fire started, but saved 
himself by leaping out of a window. My brother's office 
was situated in a brick building, which was thought to be 
fire proof; the county records were kept here. On the first 
floor was a grocery store and a bank, kept by a man by the 
name of Hager, who perished in the flames. The second 
floor was taken up by offices and the room where the 
records were kept. The new court house was nearly fin- 
ished, and at the time of the fire men were engaged in car- 
rying the records there. 

When the cry of fire was raised, the men in the building, 


my brother among them, ran down into the street to see 
where it was. They found it was just behind the United 
States hotel, on the other side of the street, nearly opposite. 
They all ran back into the building to close the iron shut- 
ters. They then ran down to go out of the building. In 
the meanwhile someone had shut the iron door to prevent 
the fire from going into the building, not knowing there 
was any one inside. My brother found it impossible to open 
the iron door, since it had expanded with the heat. They 
then ran back to his office. The man who was saved told 
the rest he was going to leave the building. He jumped 
out of a rear window down upon a small building, and es- 
caped without injury. He said Sherman was behind him, 
and supposed he would follow. Instead of doing that, he 
closed the window and iron shutters, supposing the build- 
ing to be fire-proof. They all went into the basement, 
where they perished. All were burned beyond recognition, 
except Sherman. His remains were found, face down, in a 
passageway of a partition ; the bosom of his shirt was not 
burned. He wore a gold specimen breastpin, which Edward 
gave him. This was the only thing to identify his remains. 
There was also a twenty dollar gold piece in his pocket. 
Two of his law books were saved. Tweed took one and I 
the other. The title of my book is "Angell on Water 

From the Boston Journal : 

"Nevada City in Ashes." — We copy the following tele- 
graph despatch from The California American: 


"Grass Valley, July 20, 1856, 1 a. m. — A fire broke out 
at four o'clock p. m. yesterday in the rear of Dr Alban's 
fire-proof building on Pine Street, which spread to the ad- 
joining building, occupied as a brewery. The wind favor- 
ing, it spread across to the United States Hotel and down 
and upward with great rapidity, taking the whole of Broad 
Street, Main Street, and all the cross streets, consuming all 
the express offices, banking houses, and churches, the new 
court house and County Recorder's office, stores, etc. The 
only buildings that have escaped are as follows: Dr. Al- 
ban's apothecary store, Dr. Lark's apothecary store, S. 
Miers* boot and shoe store, S. Hohlman's clothing store, 
and Potter's store. 

"Persons burnt to death, as far as known: A. J. Hager, 
banker; J Johnson, Ex-Deputy Surveyor; P Hendrickson, 
merchant; S. \V Fletcher, late District Attorney; Wm. 
Anderson, of the Democrat; G. A. Young, merchant. 
Wm. Wilson, plasterer, burnt, but not fatally. 

"The whole of the business part of the town is entirely 
consumed, commencing at the foot of Pine Street, extend- 
ing up Spring to the junction of Broad Street, crossing be- 
low Womack's building to Washington bridge, thence 
across to High Street, down to Deer Creek, crossing to Lit- 
tle Deer Creek, below Lancaster's dwelling, and thence 
down Deer Creek to the foot of Pine Street, where it com- 
menced — embracing from one hundred and fifty to two hun- 
dred acres of ground. The loss is variously estimated at 
from $2,000,000 to $3,000,000." 


The following letter from Senator Stewart may be of in- 

United States Senate, 
Washington, D. C, February 5, 1894. 
D. C. Fletcher, Esq., Littleton, Mass. 

My Dear Sir: — Your brother was a promising young 
lawyer and a most excellent man. If he had lived, he would 
certainly have taken a leading place at the bar, and been a 
most useful citizen. His untimely death in the great fire 
at Nevada City, California, in 1856, was a sad event. I was 
very intimate with him, and he often talked with me about 
his hopes and aspirations. I felt his death as a personal 
loss, and mourned him as a friend. 

Yours very truly, 

Wm. M. Stewart. 

Afterwards I went to San Francisco and procured a 
marble monument for brother's grave. 

Edward*and I visited Mr. Tweed's family Sundays for a 
long time. We were always kindly received and had a 
pleasant time. 

On my way to San Francisco to procure my brother's 
monument, I fell in with a man of my acquaintance by the 
name of Ernest, and I persuaded him to go with me. We 
spent several days in seeing the sights. We visited the 
government fort on an island in the harbor. We hired a 
man to take us over in a rowboat, since no steamers went 
to the island in those days. It was a large fort with many 
guns mounted; it guarded the entrance to the Golden Gate. 


We returned to Grass Valley together. It was the first 
time Ernest had seen the city, having crossed the plains in 
coming to California. 

Late in the spring of 1857, after we had sold out our 
claims in Shady Creek, Edward and George Edmunds, one 
of our old partners, took the job of putting in a "cut," five 
hundred feet in length, on our old claims, receiving eigh- 
teen hundred dollars and what gold they could find. Some- 
times it ran through a creek, where we found gold and 
quicksilver, but we did not know how much. At the lower 
end of the cut was a waterfall, made by a ledge, which 
would require considerable blasting. Ed. wrote to me at 
Grass Valley, asking me to go in with them. As the water 
on my claims would soon give out, I concluded to accept 
his offer, and went to work with them as soon as the water 
gave out. We had to have a derrick and blasting tools, 
such as drills, hammers, iron bars, powder and fuse, picks, 
shovels, etc. Most of these things we purchased in Grass 
Valley. The iron castings for the derrick we bought 
second hand at Shady Creek. We thought of procuring an 
anvil and sharpening our own tools, but finally made 
arrangements with a blacksmith near by to do this work. 
We took three kegs of powder with us from Grass Valley, 
but used nine kegs before we finished the cut. We hired a 
man of our acquaintance, a good fellow to work, to help us. 
We all lived in a log cabin, and boarded ourselves. I used 
to take the tools to the blacksmith to be sharpened before 
breakfast, so that the men could go to work by seven 
o'clock. I was anxious to have the work finished before 


the rainy season set in. When we were drilling holes for 
blasting, I held the drill. We had two to strike, and some- 
times three. When the powder was put in, George held 
the tamping iron, while I used the hammer. We ought 
never to have used iron for tamping, but wood. None of 
us had ever had much experience in blasting. We got 
along very well with our work, till one morning when we 
were putting in a slanting blast. George was holding the 
tamping iron, as usual, and I was swinging the hammer. 
The blast went off before we had finished tamping, blow- 
ing the rock and powder into George's face and hands. 
Probably we cut the fuse. He stood up and told us to take 
him to the cabin. I saw he was badly hurt, and went for a 
doctor as fast as possible, while Ed. and the hired man 
helped him to the cabin. 

I hurried to Oak Tree ranch, but finding nobody at home 
but the ladies, left word for the stage driver to send a doc- 
tor from San Juan, for it was nearly time for the Nevada 
stage. When the stage arrived, the driver ran his horses 
to San Juan as fast as they could go. I then started for 
Webb's ranch, a quarter of a mile up the road towards 
Cherokee, and told them to send to Cherokee for a doctor, 
also. I then returned to the cabin. When I came in sight 
of the cabin, I saw George walking about. Charlie Cor- 
nell was just coming over the creek to see how bad the 
accident was. We told George to stand still. As soon as 
he heard my voice, he inquired if I was hurt. I told him 
I was all right. Ed. and Robert, the hired man, after 
taking George up to the cabin, went back for me, expecting 


to find me badly hurt. Cornell said we had better take 
George over to his house, which we were very glad to do. 
Two doctors soon arrived. The one we picked out to take 
charge of George had been in the English navy One finger 
was so badly injured that it had to be amputated. Both 
hands were badly injured, also, and the eyes most of all. 
The doctor thought he would have to lose one eye and per- 
haps both. He waited until the next morning before re- 
moving the little pieces of rock. 

The doctor left word for the eyes to be washed out with 
a syringe every half hour. This was extremely painful. 
George begged of us not to do it so often, but we told him 
he ought to do as the doctor said. Ed. and I watched with 
him over night. He was out of his head part of the time. 
He would call to us, " Pull me out of that hole." When the 
doctor came the next morning, he found George much bet- 
ter than he expected. He said a piece of rock came so 
near the pupil of one eye that a hair's breadth would have 
destroyed it. 

George stayed a few days at the Oak Tree ranch, then we 
moved him to San Juan, where the doctor lived, so that he 
could see him at any time. Edward stayed with him a month . 
The improvement was as rapid as could be expected. They 
both lived in a cabin by themselves, so as not to be disturbed 
by any one. 

The company we were working for, when they heard of 
the accident, sent word to us that they would pay a man 
for taking care of George for a month, which they did, cost- 
ing them one hundred and twenty-five dollars. 


At the time of the accident a piece of rock hit me in the 
corner of one eye, and some rock and powder were blown 
into my chin, but the injuries were not serious enough to 
prevent me from working. Edward thought we had better 
give up the job. We had expended three- or four hundred 
dollars on the cut up to the time George was hurt, and we would 
lose that if we did not finish the job. I said we must finish 
the cut, and we did. 

We hired a man who understood the business of blasting, 
and paid him four dollars a day. Neither Ed , Robert nor 
I would put in a blast after the accident for love or money ; 
we had got blasted out. We went over to see George 
every Sunday, and spent the day with him. He was in 
good spirits, and did not worry over his misfortunes, but he 
did not recover for over a year, and his eyes were weak 
after that. 

We finished the cut that fall without any further accident, 
before the rainy season set in, to the satisfaction of the 
company. After we had finished the work, the company 
bought our derrick and all the tools we wanted to dispose of 
at a fair price, and paid us in a short time. They were good 
fellows, and we knew it when we took the contract. 

With what gold and quicksilver we took out of the creek 
and the eighteen hundred dollars we were paid, we realized 
about two thousand five hundred dollars, making three dol- 
lars a day for our summer's work. We expected to make 
five dollars, but it was a more difficult job than we reckoned 
for. George's getting hurt put us back a good deal. 

Soon after finishing the cut I returned to Grass Valley. 


I was then taken sick in my cabin. Mr. Tweed, my brother's 
late law partner, hearing of my sickness, came to see me, 
and invited me to come to his house at Nevada City and 
stay until I recovered. I was very glad to accept the kind 
invitation, for a miner's cabin is a poor place to be sick in. 
He sent his carriage for me, and under the care of Mrs. 
Tweed, I soon recovered. The doctor wanted to know if I 
had not overworked. He told me I should be all right in a 
few weeks, which proved to be the case. 

One time when I was at work on my point claims, before 
selling out at Shady Creek, Clark, one of my partners, 
came to me with a specimen which he had found while at 
work washing some tailings. It consisted of a quartz rock 
a little larger than my fist, one end of which was full of 
gold. The Day Company evidently had not seen the speci- 
men when they worked the ground for the first time. I 
asked him how much it was worth, and he said between 
two hundred and fifty and three hundred dollars. We 
weighed it as well as we could, and estimated the value at 
two hundred and sixty-nine dollars. It was put up at 
auction, and knocked off to me for two hundred and seventy 
dollars. I intended to take it home with me, but having 
use for the money I crushed it, and realized two hundred 
and sixty-nine dollars, losing just about one dollar by the 

One Sunday morning I started for Shady Creek over the 
stage road, called Robinson's road, from the name of the 
man who had built it, and as I was drawing near the bridge 
over the South Yuba River, I met a suspicious looking man 


on horseback. He wore a big cape which covered him all 
up but his legs. After he had passed me, he suddenly 
stopped and asked me the time of day. I told him I did 
not know, still keeping my eyes on him and walking away 
as fast as I could. I thought the man intended to rob me. 
I had the specimen with me, which I was intending to show 
to Edward at Shady Creek. I didn't give him a chance, 
however, to get the "drop" on me. I arrived at Shady 
Creek, and my partners told me I had the best specimen 
they had seen for a long time. I came home by stage, as I 
did not care to encounter any more men in long capes, when 
I had the two hundred and seventy dollar specimen. 

There was an old shaft on our upper claims full of water. 
Two years before all the miners in that vicinity used to 
clean up their gold here. It was supposed there were 
several hundred dollars in the shaft, as some gold is always 
wasted in cleaning up. One morning three men put a 
windlass in the shaft, and commenced cleaning it out. I 
told them the ground belonged to us, and forbade them 
working there. They said they used to "pan out" there- 
and so had the right to clean out the hole. I went down 
town to get the sheriff to stop them. One of the lawyers 
told me that it would cost ninety dollars to employ the 
sheriff, and it would take all day to execute the necessary 
papers. In the meanwhile the shaft would be cleaned out. 
He wanted to know where I was at work, and how many 
men I had. I told him on the Point claims, where ten or 
twelve men were working. He said they had no right to 
clean out the shaft, and advised me to take my gang and 


put the intruders off the ground. At noon we all went to 
where they were cleaning out the shaft, to see if we could 
not make them leave. I had a talk with them before we 
commenced operations. They finally consented to leave it 
out to three men. They were to appoint one man, I another, 
and the two a third. I told my man whom to have for the 
third man. He was a ditch agent and an old miner. The 
three men decided in my favor, I asked the men who were 
working on the shaft if they were satisfied, and they said 
they were, and left. Clark, my partner, was very indignant 
because I left it out. He said, "Put them off the ground." 
I told him it was better to leave it out, as no honest miner 
would decide against us, and besides all trouble would be 
avoided. We afterwards cleaned out the shaft, and realized 
between three and four hundred, dollars. 




Most of the people who went to California in 1849 and 
later, went to get a start in the world. Money was difficult 
to obtain in the East. Everybody wanted to get rich all at 
once. A great many steady and honest men became com- 
fortably well off. Millionaires were scarce. Others who 
came there in '49 are there still, as poor as when they came. 

My brothers and I did not travel about the country much 
except on business. I went to Dutch Flat twice, once in 
company with my partner Clark. We walked there, and a 
very rough road it was over the mountains. A railroad to 
the East was in contemplation about this time. I remem- 
ber we all said a railroad could never be built where we 
went. The Central Pacific has a station at Dutch Flat; so 
we were mistaken that time. 

In the spring of 1859 I had disposed of my mining in- 
terests, intending to return home during the year. A mem- 
ber of the Empire Company, Smith by name, told me about 
a quartz ledge he had discovered five miles from Omega, 
the last mining town this side of the Sierra Nevada moun- 
tains. He said he could see the gold in the quartz, and 
thought there was a good lead in the hill, and asked me to 
go up there and prospect, since he know I had had consid- 


erable experience in mining. I told him I expected to re- 
turn East sometime during the year, but preferred to return 
late in the fall or in the winter, as that was the healthiest 
time to cross the Isthmus. 

I made arrangements to run a tunnel into the hill, with 
the understanding that I could stop whenever I wanted to. 
In this way I could prospect the hill more thoroughly than 
by sinking a shaft. I had a man with me to wheel out the 
dirt. The tunnel was begun on the west side of the moun- 
tain overlooking the South Yuba River. We could see the 
river, more than two thousand feet below us We could 
see the waste rock that came out of the tunnel roll down 
the mountain a long distance. 

We had been working about a week, when we had a call 
from some men, who said we were destroying their flume 
with the rock that came out of the tunnel. We told them 
we did not know that any flume was there, and could not 
see it from the mouth of the tunnel. They said we had 
destroyed five or six of their boxes. We told them we 
would pay for what damage we had done. They said they 
would not ask us to do that, if we would not destroy any 
more of the flume, which we agreed to. We managed to 
pile up the rocks at the mouth of the tunnel, so that they 
did not run down the mountain. 

This flume was part of a ditch that was being built to 
convey water from the head waters of the South Yuba 
to Grass Valley and Nevada City. One company had 
failed, having spent $20,000 in the undertaking. Another 
company then took hold of it, and put it through. There 


is now plenty of water in Nevada and Grass Valley all the 
year round for all kinds of purposes. The quartz mills 
use it to run their machinery, since it is much cheaper 
than steam power. The residents use it in their houses, 
paving about two dollars a month for it. 

The company constructing the ditch had a mill near 
where we were at work, to saw lumber for the flume. They 
used 1,000,000 feet for building a flume to carry the water 
over the difficult places in the mountains, where they could 
not build a ditch. 

On the Fourth of July I followed the ditch to the head 
waters of the South Yuba. I could see snow on the moun- 
tains. The ditch was about six feet wide and three or four 
feet deep. These ditches are given a fall of only a quarter 
of an inch to the rod, so as not to wash out the banks. 

We lived in a deserted cabin not far from our work. 
The man that worked with me came from Columbus, Mis- 
sissippi. He had been engaged in the grocery business 
before he came to California. We had many arguments 
about slavery. He was pro-slavery to the backbone. We 
were disputing one night in an animated manner after we 
had retired ; he said he would get up and go out back of 
the cabin and fight it out, if I was willing, — and he meant 
it. I told him we didn't settle disputes in that way in the 
North. He was a large, powerful man, and could whip 
two men of my size at the same time. He said the labor- 
ing people of the North were no better than slaves. We 
could never agree when we talked about slavery. We 
used to go to Omega every week to get the news and mail, 


and to order things for the cabin. One day some trappers 
brought in a grizzly bear they had caught in a trap. They 
had him in an iron cage. They sold him at Marysville for 
fifty dollars for a bull and bear fight. 

We worked several months in the tunnel without find- 
ing any quartz ledge. The ground had become so hard 
that we could not work any more without blasting, and 
I was unwilling to blast in a tunnel after my experience 
in blasting in the open air, and, besides, I was getting 
impatient to start for home. One day I bought of a man 
who came to the cabin, a watermelon two feet long. It 
was one of the sweetest melons I ever ate. Late in the 
fall I went to Grass Valley and informed the owners of 
the mine that I wanted to quit work and return East. 
He settled with me, and I started at once for San Francisco. 
Before I left, Edward ahd I went to Dutch Flat to visit 
Mr. Tweed's family. The Tweeds expected to return East 
soon to see a brother, who was a professor in Tufts Col- 
lege. My brother decided to stay in California. 

I stopped at the What Cheer House in San Francisco. 
As I came out of the dining-room one evening, I met an 
old schoolmate from Massachusetts, named Fletcher. We 
went to the fire engine house parlor and had a long talk 
about Littleton and its people. He sold papers in Cali- 
fornia, and found it a paying business. The engine house 
had a parlor, sitting-room and library for the use of its 
men. A brother of this Fletcher recently left the Little- 
ton Library one thousand dollars. 


My ticket took me home through Panama. On the way 
to Panama I met a man who was on the steamship Inde- 
pendence when it was burned, and many lives lost, on the 
way from San Francisco to Panama. When the captain 
found he could not save the ship he went as near shore as 
possible; the passengers jumped from the boat on the 
land side, but those who could not swim clung to those 
who could, causing the death of many. My friend jumped 
off on the ocean side, and swam around the others, and so 

When about a day's sail from Panama we were enveloped 
in a heavy thick fog, which prevented us from seeing the 
length of the ship. We were near an island, but as it 
could not be exactly located, we went very slowly, some- 
times stopping. Many officers and sailors were stationed 
on different parts of the ship on the lookout, one forward, 
and one on each side of the ship. The fog lifted a little. 
I happened to be looking straight ahead at the time, and 
saw the island directly in front of us. There was a great 
commotion on board for a few minutes. The ship was 
turned to the left as soon as possible to clear the island. 
If the fog had not lifted as it did we should probably have 
been wrecked. Everett Hoar, one of our neighbors at 
home, was wrecked on that island, or another island in 
that vicinity, a few years later, on a voyage to California. 
I think the passengers were all saved, but they were 
obliged to stay on the island several months, living on 
stores obtained from the wreck. They were picked up by 
another ship sent out to find them. We arrived at Pana- 


ma without any other mishap. I went to see the Spaniard 
who kept the hotel where my brother Theodore and I 
stopped on our way to California. He was still keeping 
the hotel, but did not look well. We stopped at Acapulco, 
Mexico, on our way down, where I purchased a lot of sea 
shells. I also purchased two very nice ones at Panama. 
Most of them I have given away to my friends. 

We arrived at Panama about ten o'clock in the morning, 
and went on shore in boats. There was no improvement 
in leaving and going on board ships, on account of a ledge 
of rocks in the harbor. We crossed the Isthmus in two 
or three hours by the Panama railroad. The trains stop 
at Aspinwall on the same wharf where the steamship leaves 
for New York. 

The gold dust that came on our ship, amounting to 
$1,000,000 or $2,000,000, the baggage and freight, were all 
transported across the Isthmus and loaded on the New 
York boat in one day. We arrived at Panama in the 
morning, and I could just see land on the other side the 
next morning, as we sailed for New York. The only thing 
to do after arriving in New York was to go home. It was 
a sad returning this time. Death had entered our family 
circle for the first time. For during my absence my 
brother Sherman had lost his life in the Nevada fire, and 
George, another brother, had died at home in 1857. I at 
once wrote to Edward in California, informing him of my 
safe arrival home. 

At the time of the War of the Rebellion my brother 
Edward enlisted in a company that recruited in Nevada 


City. They joined a California regiment, expecting to be 
sent to the front. The Indians, however, were so trouble- 
some in Southern California that they were detained there. 
When his three years of service had expired, he was 
stationed in a fort in Arizona. By permission of the com- 
mander of the fort, Edward and a man by the name of 
Brown opened a store near the fort. After leaving the 
service they ran an express and pack train from Mohave 
City in Arizona to Los Angeles in Southern California, 
about three hundred miles through the wilderness. Their 
train consisted of forty mules and horses. On one occa- 
sion the Indians stampeded the train at some point on the 
route, and ran the animals all off but five. Ed. and Brown 
and the men who helped run the pack, sixteen in number, 
put after the Indians, and followed them for three days 
and three nights into the mountains. A big rain and hail 
storm came on, and being out of provisions, they had to 
abandon the pursuit. They recovered most of the animals, 
but they were dead; for the Indians killed them, if they 
could not keep them from being recaptured. Edward on 
this occasion caught a very bad cold, which settled on his 
lungs, and he never recovered. He stayed at Los Angeles 
a year, but did not grow any better. He then went to 
San Francisco, intending to go to the Sandwich Islands. 
But he was so feeble that he thought he had better come 
home, if he ever expected to see father and mother again. 
He arrived home about the first of December, 1868, and 
died on Christmas day, living but three weeks after arriv- 
ing in Massachusetts. 





And now came the Rebellion of 1861-65, m which the 
young men of the country were obliged to take a conspicu- 
ous part. Of course the Fletcher family of Littleton, who 
were bound to have a hand in every good work, were not 
behindhand this time. I have spoken of my brother Ed- 
ward's enlistment in the preceding pages. I was the only 
young man at home unmarried, and it appeared to be my 
duty to go to the war. I was in excellent health after my 
return from California, and felt myself able to stand any 
number of hard knocks. Besides the above reasons for en- 
listing I was influenced to a considerable extent by the state 
of public opinion. The pulpit and the press were ablaze with 
patriotism. The selectmen, and in fact all the prominent 
men of the town, urged the young men to enlist. One of 
the selectmen told me he thought I ought to go to the war 


first, and he would come after me. Another prominent man 
in town said that blood would be shed, as both sides, North 
and South, had "got their dander up," but thought I ought 
to go and defend the right. 

The way I came to enlist was in connection with selling 
some apples in Boston. When I was in California, mining, 
one of my partners told me that winter apples packed in 
plaster would keep in good condition until June. Accord- 
ingly in the fall of i860 I packed eight or ten barrels of 
apples in plaster, and put them in the cellar. Late in April, 
1 861, when the whole country was arming on account of the 
fall of Fort Sumter, I opened the barrels, and found the 
apples had decayed more than those that had not been 
packed in plaster. I made the best of it, however, and after 
cleaning off the plaster and packing them over, started with 
the best of them for Boston with father's team, intending to 
find some regiment to enlist for the war. After arriving 
in Boston, I found a number of three-years' regiments recruit- 
ing for the war, among them the nth and 12th Massachu- 
setts. I happened to go into the hall where the 11th was 
recruiting, near Bowdoin Square. I put my name down as 
intending to be one of their number. I was not enlisted 
into the regiment, however. I was told I had better not 
leave the city if I intended to go with them, as they expected 
to leave for Washington in a few days. I left the team in 
a stable, and wrote to father to send for it. 

The regiment drilled in the hall, for a week, in the step 
and facings, and then were ordered down to Fort Warren to 
drill. The companies were not full. I did not like the idea 

ENLISTMENT, I 86 1. 103 

of going down to Fort Warren, as I wanted to go to the 
front at once. Nor did I like the way the officers were 
chosen. So I began to look around to find some other or- 
ganization. I was standing in the doorway of the drill-hall 
one day, when a man asked me if I would not like to go to 
West Cambridge, (now Arlington,) and join a company that 
was forming there. He gave me such a flattering account 
of the company that I concluded to go and see about it. I 
was also advised to go to West Cambridge by my brother 
Theodore, who had come down to Boston with some hay, 
and had dropped in at the hall of the I ith Regiment to see 
me. So we all three rode to West Cambridge in Theodore's 
hay wagon. I was told that the company would assemble 
in the evening in the town hall. I was on hand, and was so 
well pleased with everything, that I joined the company. I 
stayed with them till wounded in 1862. Captain Albert S. 
Ingalls, who was getting up the company, with the help of 
the town, was a prominent lawyer of West Cambridge. 

The members of the company who did not live in town, 
boarded at the hotel, the town paying the bills. Later I 
boarded with a man by the name of Hill. His only son was 
a member of the company, and was killed in '62. I was not 
acquainted with any of the company, but found it on the 
whole rather pleasant to meet so many strangers and form 
new acquaintances. Most of the company lived in town, or 
in the neighboring towns. A number of Addison Gage's 
ice-men joined the company. Albert S. Ingalls was elected 
captain, Frank Gould, first lieutenant, John Locke and 
Charlie Graves were commissioned officers, either in our com- 


pany, or in some other company of the regiment which we 
joined later. The town furnished us with uniforms and 
other things that we needed. We drilled in the town hall 
afternoon and evening, and sometimes in a vacant lot in the 
daytime. One day the company marched to Belmont and 
took the cars for Boston, to procure muskets. We marched 
all the way back by way of Charlestown and Winter Hill. 
We attended church in a body on Sundays at the Unitarian 
church, then at the Orthodox and Baptist, on invitation. 

There being no vacancy for a company in any regiment 
then forming in the state, we had permission from the gov- 
ernor to join a regiment in Brooklyn, New York. We 
started the last of May for New York. The company as- 
sembled in the town hall, and were provided with knapsacks 
and blankets, and also given seven dollars each in money. 
The ladies of the town furnished us with towel, soap, pins, 
needles and thread, and other little things not provided by 
the government. The last thing we received was a testa- 
ment, given us by the Orthodox minister. We went by way 
of Fall River and Long Island Sound. Two companies 
joined us at Fall River, one from Milford, Captain Lindsay, 
the other from Newburyport, Captain Wescott. The three 
companies were to join the same regiment at Brooklyn. 
Arriving in New York the three companies marched to the 
Astor House and took breakfast. We were quartered in 
three halls in Brooklyn, one for each company, taking our 
meals at a hotel near by. Everything was first class. The 
regiment we were to join was not ready, and from all ap- 
pearances would not be for several weeks. The captains of 

ENLISTMENT, 1 86 1. 105 

the companies wrote to the governor of Massachusetts for 
instructions, and we were ordered home again, after staying 
in Brooklyn somewhat less than a week. 

Upon our arrival in Boston, Captain Ingalls received 
orders from the selectmen of West Cambridge to come 
back to the town and stay there at the town's expense until 
we found another chance to go to the front. The captain 
said he would not take the company back to West Cam- 
bridge until they had seen some fighting. The company 
went down to Fort Warren, and stayed one night. We 
then boarded at a hotel in Boston a number of days. In 
the meanwhile the three captains had heard of another regi- 
ment in Yonkers, New York, that was not full. They at 
once went to Yonkers to see what the prospect was. 
When they returned, they gave a favorable report, and we 
all started at once for Yonkers. Upon our arrival we 
found the Mozart Regiment, 40th New York, recruiting for 
the war. It was a New York City regiment, gotten up by 
Mayor Fernando Wood. The three Massachusetts com- 
panies joined the regiment. Later Captain Wescott raised 
another company in Lawrence, Mass., which joined this 
regiment. We were stationed in a large brick building at 
Yonkers, recruiting, none of the companies having the full 
quota of officers and men. We used to go up the Hudson 
River on the steamers, visiting the towns situated along the 
river Some of us went to Sing Sing, where the state 
prison is located. The superintendent invited us in to see 
the prisoners take dinner. There were one thousand of 
them in the dining-hall. Officers were stationed in differ- 


ent parts of the room to take care of them. If one prisoner 
had too much bread or meat, the officer was signaled by 
signs, and it was given to another prisoner who did not have 
enough. We tasted some of the bread and found it very 
good. We were shown about the prison by the officers- 
It cost us nothing to go where we pleased on the boats, ex- 
cept to New York City. With a number of others I visited 
the spot where Major Andre was captured during the Revo- 
lution. The spot was in the woods near a brook, and was 
marked by a monument to commemorate the event. We 
usually went in squads of five or six, taking a lieutenant with 
us, if we could, and were usually invited to dinner by some 
of the citizens of the places we visited. One day five of us 
went up to Peekskill to see the place. About one o'clock 
we were talking with one of the citizens, when he asked us 
if we had had any dinner. We told him, "No." He then 
invited us to dine at his house. We accepted the invitation 
with thanks. As we entered the dining-room, a young lady 
left the room. After dinner, as we left the front yard 
through the gate, the young lady was there, and gave each 
of us a rose. She said she had a brother in the army. 

Tents were furnished us, and we went into camp a week 
before we left for Washington. Before we went into camp, 
the ladies of Yonkers treated us to strawberries and cream. 
I heard that the ladies furnished the strawberries, and the 
merchants of Yonkers the sugar and cream. We had all 
we wanted, — at least, I did. I had eaten one plateful, and 
went into line for another. One of the ladies, who passed 
the strawberries to the soldiers, asked me if I had not been 

ENLISTMENT, I 86 1. \0J 

there before. I gave an evasive reply. She said she 
thought there would be enough, and gave me another plate. 
I heard that two or three bushels were left over after the 
soldiers had eaten all they wanted. 

In the afternoon of June 27, we were sworn into the 
United States' service for three years or during the war. 
Each company had to number one hundred and one officers 
and men, before it could be mustered in. The next morning 
the orderly sergeant informed me that I had been appointed 
by the captain one of the corporals, — an agreeable surprise 
to me. The five sergeants and eight corporals of each com- 
pany are appointed by the captain. There were ten com- 
panies in each regiment. The sergeants and corporals act 
as police in each company. In line of battle the captain, 
first and second lieutenants, and four sergeants are two 
paces in rear of the company, to keep the men in their places. 
The orderly sergeant takes the captain's place at the head 
of the company. The lieutenant -colonel, major and 
adjutant are a few paces in the rear of the company officers 
and sergeants. The colonel is in the rear of the regiment. 
The first duty I had to perform, after being appointed cor- 
poral, was to put a man in the guard-house. He was talk- 
ing, and made considerable unnecessary noise. I told him 
to "shut up," and exercised considerable authority, more 
than I afterwards did when arresting a man. Quite a num- 
ber were looking on to see me operate, and I thought I 
must show as much authority as possible to make them 
believe I was somebody. 


Once at midnight while we were in camp at Yonkers, the 
long roll was beat. The regiment was in line as soon as 
possible. Mayor Wood had come up to our camp from 
New York City. He wanted to see how quickly the regi- 
ment could be assembled. We were all in bed at the time, 
except the guard. He made a speech to the regiment, and 
complimented us upon getting into line so promptly at mid- 
night. The first night we were in camp at Yonkers I woke 
up and could see the stars. Some one had pulled up the 
tent pins, and let the tent down on us. There was in our 
tent a man who was always finding fault with everybody,— 
cross, and nothing ever went right with him. Otherwise he 
was a good fellow enough. We thought the tent was pulled 
down for his special benefit. Of course he made a great 
fuss, and wanted to know who pulled up the tent pins, etc. 
I told him to help put up the tent, and not to make such a 
noise about it. I tented with somebody else after that. He 
died at Camp Sacket in the winter of '61-62. His body 
was embalmed, and sent home to his friends, together with 
his personal property. The company paid all expenses, 
which amounted to about one hundred dollars. The pri- 
vates and non-commissioned officers paid half a dollar each, the 
lieutenants ten dollars, and the captain twenty dollars. The 
captain said no more bodies would be sent home, since it 
was too great a tax on the company. He was the first man 
in the company to die. He lived in Gorham, Maine, and 
left a wife and three children. 

On the Fourth of July we started for Washington. All 
the ten companies that composed the regiment were mus- 

ENLISTMENT, 1 86 1. IC9 

tered into the United States' service. We were supplied 
with everything we wanted, and more than we could use. 
Many things were thrown away when we came to march. 
All the soldier wants when in active service, besides his 
equipments, is one hat, one woolen blanket, one rubber 
blanket, two woolen shirts, two pairs of socks, haversack, 
canteen, and one of those little bags of things that the ladies 
of Arlington gave us, and a testament. 

Our camp at Yonkers was situated about, a mile back of 
the town. The regiment marched down through the town 
with a band of music. Every one cheered us, and the ladies 
waved their handkerchiefs. The inhabitants of Yonkers 
had been very kind to us while we had been with them. 
The regiment took a steamboat for Jersey City, where we 
took the cars for Washington. We did not all get on board 
the boat at Yonkers till late in the afternoon. When we 
came in sight ot New York, it was night. We could see 
the fireworks in the city as we passed by, in honor of the 
day. We made a stop in Philadelphia of an hour or more. 
When we left Yonkers, we had rations of hard bread and 
salt beef. I did not like this fare very well, and when we 
arrived at Philadelphia, I started out to see if I could not 
get something better. I asked at a number of houses in the 
suburbs for some milk, but they had none. At last I found 
a woman who had plenty. She told me to come in, and she 
gave me all the pie and cake I could eat, and all the milk I 
could drink. She also. gave me pies, cake and a canteen 
full of milk to take to the cars for the other soldiers. I 
asked her what her bill was, and she said " Nothing." I 


told her I expected to pay for what I had. Still she refused 
any money. She said she had a son in the army. Good 
woman! I hope her son returned to her safe and sound. 

I went to the cars pretty well loaded down with good 
things for the soldiers. The engine whistle blew fifteen or 
twenty minutes before we started for Washington. We had 
to go round through York, Pennsylvania, a roundabout way 
to get to Washington, the direct route not yet being estab- 
lished for government troops. We saw pickets out for the 
first time, beside the railroad from York to Washington. 
We went through Baltimore in the night. The streets were 
quiet, and our muskets were not loaded. On our arrival at 
Washington we went into camp about three miles this side 
of the city, and commenced drilling again, twice a day 
Other regiments were encamped near us, also cavalry and 
artillery; all were getting ready for war. Sometimes when 
the soldiers were not on duty, they would pick blackberries 
in the neighboring fields. We used to give the cook some 
of them, and receive sugar in return to eat with the remain- 
der. I went into the city a number of times to see the 
place. It was a great sight for one who had never been 
there before. The dome of the capital was not finished at 
this time, but men were working on it. It was finished be- 
fore the close of the war. 

Discipline was very lax at this time. I could get leave to 
go to Washington most any time. On the 2ist of July, 
which was Sunday, we were encamped the other side of the 
Totomac, between Fort Ellsworth and the river. The chap- 
lain of the regiment was holding services under a tree by 

ENLISTMENT, 1 86 1. Ill 

the river. I was present. I whispered to Corporal Shep- 
ard, who sat next to me, that I thought there was a fight 
going on somewhere. We could hear the booming of can- 
non in the distance. The first battle of Bull Run had be- 

In the afternoon our regiment was ordered out and 
marched down to the railroad station at Alexandria. We 
took the cars to the west in the direction of Bull Run. The 
regiment guarded the railroad this side of Bull Run all 
night. Our orders were to shoot the first man who molested 
the railroad or telegraph. Late in the afternoon a train of 
cars came back from the direction of Bull Run. Some of 
the soldiers asked the conductor what the news was from 
the front. He said our troops were victorious. At day- 
light we saw troops coming down the railroad from the 
direction of Bull Run battlefield. They said our boys had 
been defeated, and the army had been ordered back to Wash- 
ington. They were not running, neither did I see any other 
troops running on that day. They told us we had better 
hurry back to Washington, for the rebel Black Horse 
Cavalry were coming. We heard a good deal at this time 
about the Black Horse Cavalry, but saw nothing of them. 
About noon we took the cars back to Alexandria and re- 
turned to camp. 

Soon after the Bull Run defeat our regiment was marched 
to Alexandria to guard the city. The regimental head- 
quarters were in the court house. Thousands of troops were 
in the city. Regiments and companies were all mixed up. 
Everybody appeared to go wherever he pleased. But it did 


not take long for the soldiers to find their regiments. 
Notices were posted about the streets, stating where the 
headquarters of the different regiments were. I was corpo- 
ral of the guard part of the time the regiment was guarding 
the city. One day, in the forenoon, there was a call for 
the corporal of the guard from post seventeen, down at the 
lower end of the city. The officer of the guard told me to 
take my musket and go down to post seventeen and see 
what was wanted. It was quite a walk down to the post. 
On my way down I met the President, Secretary Seward 
and General McDowell in a carriage coming up the street 
from Washington, going toward the Marshall House, where 
Ellsworth had been killed some weeks before. They saluted 
me when I met them. I appreciated the compliment. 
When I came to post seventeen, I found the soldier in 
charge had stopped a citizen. Some soldiers had been steal- 
ing hens from the citizen's hen-coop. The hens went up 
past the post, the soldiers in full pursuit of them. The 
owner of the hens was after the soldiers, but the hens and 
the soldiers were going so fast, they could not be stopped, 
but as the owner's rate of speed wasn't as great, he could 
be stopped; consequently the soldiers got the hens. I in- 
quired what the orders were, and was told to stop everybody 
who hadn't the password. I told him to do as he was 
ordered. The citizen wished me to take dinner with him, 
but he looked so ugly I feared he would poison me, so I de- 
clined. When I reported the affair at headquarters, the men 
laughed, and thought it a neat way of getting the hens. 


At midnight a soldier came running into headquarters 
saying, "For God's sake give me some hard tack." He 
claimed he had been in the battle of Bull Run, and had been 
in the woods without food ever since. We gave him all the 
beef, hard bread and coffee he wanted, and found him a 
place to sleep. He was very scared, and wanted to know if 
we thought the rebels would attack us before morning. We 
told him he would be awakened in season to run again, if the 
rebels came. He was the only scared man I saw from the 
Bull Run fight. We saw the same man at Second Bull 
Run, he having run away from his regiment again. The 
cavalry, that was on duty for just such soldiers, stopped him 
and sent him to his regiment. He had tried to join our 
regiment when we enlisted, but the captain, not liking his 
appearance, refused him. He was awkward, and did not 
learn the manual readily. Too much time was taken getting 
anything into his head. 




After the Bull Run fight the rebels were very bold. At one 
time a rebel ran along the street, and fired into our camp in 
broad day light. Our men tried to catch him, but failed. 
The long roll, the signal of alarm, was beaten in our camp 
every night. We had to sleep with our clothes and equip- 
ments on, and a loaded musket by our side every night 
for some time. One night we were called in company line 
three times. The captain had two men stationed on the 
company street every night to get the men up as quick a9 
possible when the long roll was beat. 

The rebels were on Munson's hill in sight of Washington 
Our soldiers built some forts and from these we soon drove 
the rebels back. Barracks were built inside the forts under 
ground, covered with logs and dirt to the depth of four feet. 
Here the soldiers slept, and here the wounded would be 

A soldier was hung at Fort Ellsworth, near Alexandria, 
for killing a negro woman, while he was drunk. He left a 
family at home. Many regiments were marched near the 
fort to witness the execution, ours being among them. No 
more negro women were killed by the soldiers after that. 

Soon after Bull Run our company went on picket duty 
for the first time. I had charge of a picket post consisting 


of five men. My orders were to stop everyone not having 
a pass signed by a certain general. My post was stationed 
on the road. One man marched up and down for ten rods, 
night and day. He was relieved every two hours. The 
other men were allowed to smoke or sleep, but could not go 
away to their own tent. If dne of the men went out of 
sight of the others, he took his musket. The first morning 
I was on picket duty, I saw an ambulance bringing in a man 
who had been killed by one of the guards. This man went 
outside the picket line. While he was gone, the picket was 
changed, and the new man on the post was not informed that 
a man was out. As the poor fellow came near the guard, he 
was told to halt three times, but as no response was made 
the guard fired, killing the man instantly. 

When anybody comes near the guard, no matter if it be 
the corporal of the guard, he is told to "Halt and give the 
countersign." If the person doesn't stop, the guard retreats. 
Upon the continued approach of the man, the guard repeats 
" Halt" three times, retreating each time, and then fires. 

One time a negro came up the road with a pass signed 
by the wrong general. I told him he could go no further 
with that pass. He said he had always been where he 
wanted to with the pass. I told two of my men to take 
their muskets and take the man to headquarters, where the 
captain was. I saw no more of the negro after that. 

Late in the afternoon the officer of the picket came to 
the post, and told me I had better move my men to some 
other locality after dark ; he said the rebels might find out 
where we were in the daytime, and attack us in the night, if 


we stayed there. I moved the men back to another place 
after dark. The corporal or sergeant who had charge of the 
post relieved the guard ; so it was difficult for the one who 
had charge of the post to get much sleep. The first night 
I did not sleep at all, but the second night, managed to get 
a little sleep. At first I found it hard to keep the sentinels 
from going to sleep at their posts; but after threatening to 
send them to headquarters if they fell asleep again, I had no 
further trouble. At another time I had charge of the out- 
side picket post, which was very disagreeable, as well as 
dangerous. The man who had charge of the post, has the 
pass-word ; the picket does not. If anyone came along, I 
had to go and see if he had the pass-word. Any little noise 
would startle me, so that I got very little sleep. But such 
times do not come to the same person very often. 

At another time our reserve picket was near a house, 
where a man lived with his wife and sister. They were dis- 
loyal. One day the two women went to Alexandria to do 
some shopping. On their way back they were stopped and 
searched. Papers were found on them, from rebels in Wash- 
ington, giving information to the enemy They were both 
put in jail in Washington. A guard was put around the 
house day and night. The second night we were there, it 
was wet and cold. Accordingly, the captain, who was not 
feeling well, asked permission of the man who stayed in the 
house after the arrest of the women, to pass the night 
there. The man refused. Soon after the man sent word 
that he wanted some wood. The captain told him he might 
burn up his secession principles to keep warm. Before 


night he sent word to the captain that he might sleep in 
the house if he would furnish some wood. The captain sent 
a guard with the wood to see that the man did not commu- 
nicate with the rebels. The captain then had a good 
night's sleep in the house. We were on picket two days 
and three nights at that time. 

During the winter our regiment went on picket once in 
three weeks. At another time I was on the reserve picket, 
which is a more pleasant duty than having charge of a 
picket post, since the reserve pickets have plenty of time to 
sleep. We were stationed in an old plantation house. The 
overseer's house and quite a number of the negroes' houses 
were near by. There was nobody about the building but 
the overseer's wife and two or three small children. The 
woman said her husband was in Richmond jail on account 
of being a Union man. The colonel put a guard round the 
house so as to have her property saved. The woman was 
given things she needed to support her family. There 
were large quantities of corn on the place in bins, which our 
teams carried away. 

We soldiers went up in the garret and found a large num- 
ber of old deeds and mortgages, some of them dating back 
to the seventh century. Some of the soldiers sent these old 
papers home as relics of the place. At night some of us 
put some straw we found in the barn in the rooms up stairs, 
built a fire in the fireplaces, and had a warm, pleasant place 
to sleep. The officers occupied the rooms below. Some 
of the soldiers up stairs, without the knowledge of the officers, 
and in the night when everything was quiet, would roll stones 


down the stairs, waking up everybody in the house. After 
awhile an officer came to the foot of the stairs and told us 
not to roll any more stones. When everything was quiet, 
again they let another go. Bump, bump, bump, it went down 
to the bottom of the stairs, making a great racket. The 
officer then came up stairs and asked some men who were 
warming themselves by the fire, if they knew who rolled the 
stone down the stairs. Of course they said they did not. 
The officer said he would put us all in the guard-house if 
they rolled any more. The soldiers thought it best to keep 
quiet after that. 

At three o'clock the next morning our company went out- 
side the picket line on a scouting tour. The captain de- 
ployed a few men as skirmishers, so as not to be surprised 
by the enemy. We did not see anyone all the time we 
were gone, however. We went near enough to the rebels 
to hear their drums. There was ice in a brook that we 
crossed. We passed by the church where George Washing- 
ton used to go to meeting. At another time we went on 
picket duty near a house where a man lived with his wife 
and three or four children. They were very poor and ignor- 
ant. I asked one of the boys what his father's name was. 
He said, "John." I asked what the rest of it was. He 
said that was all the name he had. The rebels tried to make 
John join their army, but he would not. There was no 
reading of any kind in the house, neither book nor news- 
paper, but the man knew enough to be a Union man. 

In the fall of 1861, I had a visit from my brother Theo- 
dore. I got leave to go about with him the afternoon of the 


day he arrived. We went as far as the outside picket, where 
we were stopped by the sentinel. At night one of my tent- 
mates found another place to sleep, so that my brother 
could stay with me. When I asked if he slept well, he said, 
" No, somebody was tramping around all night." The guard 
was relieved every two hours, and this was the noise he 
heard. The next morning I got a pass from the captain to 
be gone all day, but he told me it must be signed by the 
colonel and Brigadier-general Sedgwick. The colonel re- 
fused to sign it for later than two o'clock, as at that hour 
we had a battalion drill and every man had to be on hand. 
Finally the captain prevailed on the colonel to sign it, and I 
was free until five o'clock. My brother and I saw the caval- 
cavalry and artillery drill. Theodore went into Fort Ells- 
worth, but my pass did not permit me to do so. We also went 
to Munson's Hill, where the rebels were after the Bull Run 
fight, and down to Long Bridge. I found the time limit of 
my pass was over, and I was five miles from camp. We 
had some oysters, and after bidding my brother a hasty good 
bye, I left on the double-quick. The next time I saw him, 
I was minus one leg. I got a little ride from a milkman, 
but did not go to the main entrance of the camp, fearing I 
should be detained. I managed to get through the guard 
by means of some brush and reached my tent safely. I had 
been in my tent but a short time when the orderly sergeant 
came to look for me. Lucky for me I was there. Orders 
were very strict at this time, and any known disobedience 
of headquarter orders, by officers or men, was severely 


Our corps, the third, was reviewed by the corps com- 
mander, General Heintzelman, two or three times during 
the fall. These reviews were very tedious to the soldiers, 
but were of benefit to the army in many ways, and not least 
because they gave us an opportunity to become acquainted 
with one another. 

Late in the fall a review of the whole army was held by the 
President, General McClellan, the commander-in-chief, and 
other dignitaries. The army at this time numbered about 
100,000 men. The pickets were doubled, as the rebels 
would probably hear of the review and might attempt a sur- 
prise. Our colonel made everyone go that could possibly 
leave, cooks, teamsters and some of the sick. He liked to 
have the regiment as large as possible at these reviews, so 
as to make a fine appearance. I was not very well at the 
time of the big review, but wanted to go very much, as it 
would be a big sight. I managed to get through the review, 
and then left the ranks, returning to camp at my leisure. 
The review was very imposing. The regiments marched 
two companies front, close order by divisions. Every one 
had a high opinion of the commanding officer, "Little Mac." 
I never saw the troops much better. When we marched by 
the reviewing officers, the divisions were as straight as a 
line. Everybody did his best. 

The 40th Regiment, N. Y V., gave the commanding offi- 
cer three hearty cheers, as he passed in review. General 
McClellan reined up his horse, and raised his hat. I be- 
lieve the Mozart Regiment could cheer louder than any 
other regiment in the service. Addison Gage, the proprie- 


tor of the ice company at Arlington, came out to see the 
company in the fall of 1861. He had a nephew in the 

While we were at Camp Sacket, Governor Andrew sent 
a man with a paper for the officers and men of our com- 
pany to sign, to see if they would not like to be transferred 
to a Massachusetts regiment. Lieutenant Gould and some 
of the non-commissioned officers, and many privates signed 
the paper; but I did not. They were tried by court-mar- 
tial for insurrection, and found guilty. The lieutenant was 
dismissed from the service. The non-commissioned officers 
were reduced to the ranks. The colonel afterwards remit- 
ted the sentence, and all were restored to their old places in 
the company. 

At one time the colonel was put under arrest for a week 
for forcing the guard. He had been visiting the 4th 
Maine, and on his return, refused to halt, and give the 
countersign at the command of the guard. The case was 
reported to General Sedgwick, who ordered his arrest. 
The colonel was not allowed to wear his sword or have 
any communication with his regiment, or to leave his 
tent. At the end of the week he was colonel of the regi- 
ment again. At another time the captain of our company 
was put under arrest for a week, for leaving his men, who 
were on fatigue duty, to a lieutenant, and going out with a 
large scouting party, consisting of three regiments of in- 
fantry, some cavalry and a battery. The captain, too, could 
not leave his tent, wear his sword or have any communica- 
tion with his company for a week. After the week had ex- 


pired, he was restored to his rank. I went out with the 
same scouting party. I was corporal of the guard at the 
time, and got another corporal to take my place, as I wanted 
to go with the boys very much. I suppose I should have 
been put under arrest, or put in the guard-house, if I had 
been found out. It was hard work for volunteers, both 
officers and men, to do just what they were ordered. 

General Sedgwick, a West Point man commanded our 
brigade, and we had to obey orders, or there was trouble. 
The scouting party went near enough to the enemy to hear 
their drums. At the end of our march some of the soldiers 
knocked at the door of a house near by. There was no an- 
swer; the door was locked. The soldiers looking back a 
few minutes later, saw that the door was partly opened and 
someone was looking through the crack. They went back 
and inquired if they had any hens or ducks for sale. Two 
women came out of the house, when they found we were 
not going to rob them, and let some ducks out of the barn, 
and sold them to us for a dollar apiece. Soon after a man 
come out of the house, and asked us for tobacco. We gave 
them some, and then he and the women filled some pipes 
out of their pockets and went to smoking. They were the 
hardest looking women I ever saw, — tall, lank and cadaver- 
ous looking. They then wanted to buy some sugar and 
coffee, but we had none to sell or give away. They said 
they had been trying to get some for three weeks, but 
without success. We returned to camp about two o'clock 
in the morning. Our scouting cavalry had been fired at a 
number of times, and some of them wounded, and the scout- 


ing party had been ordered out to see if the rebels had put 
up any forts or earth-works near by. We found none, 
neither did we see any rebel soldiers. 

About the first of November we went into winter quarters. 
The captain and lieutenants had tents facing and opposite 
the company streets. The sergeants and corporals tented 
at the head of the company streets, usually four in a tent 
Corporals Shepard, Hammond and Braslin tented with me. 
For our house in winter we dug a hole in the ground two 
feet deep, and large enough for a tent to cover. We then 
built up two feet of logs on the edge, and covered it with our 
tent. We were provided with a new tent. Application was 
made at headquarters for our old tent, also, which was 
granted. We made an oven in one corner, of mud, rocks 
and sand on the side, with a big, flat rock on top. For a 
door we had a small flat rock. We made a chimney of 
sticks and mud outside the tent, communicating with the 
oven inside. Virginia mud makes very good brick after it 
is baked, so that we had a very good habitation, consider- 
ing it was war times. There were two bunks in the tents, 
one above the other. For bedding we had a mattress and 
woolen blankets. Shepard and I occupied the upper bunk, 
Hammond and Braslin the lower one. When we were 
cold we built up a big fire, so that we did not suffer from 
the cold. Each man had a tin dipper, a tin plate, knife and 
fork, and a spoon to eat with. Each company had a cook- 
tent and a cook, who cooked for the whole company except 
the captain and lieutenants, who lived by themselves. The 
captain had a cook of his own, who procured his provisions 
of the brigade commissary. 


We had in our company a man who had once been a cook 
in a restaurant in Boston, and the captain detailed him cook 
every week, at the request of the company. Nearly every 
soldier gave twenty-five cents to the cook every two months, 
so that he made double wages. This was given voluntarily. 
A few did not give anything to the cook, but they did not 
get any of the nice plum pudding and other delicacies which 
the cook used to prepare from time to time. Hiring the 
cook proved a good investment for the company, for owing 
to his skilful management we soon had a hundred dollar 
company fund from rations we did not draw from the gov- 
ernment, besides having our food well cooked. We had 
baked beans quite often. The cook used to exchange some 
of our salt beef with some other company for beans. I 
think I never ate better beans than we had at Camp Sacket 
in the winter of 1861-62. The cook used to put in a hole 
dug in the ground a copper kettle large enough to hold a 
bushel or more. A fire was made in the hole, so that it 
was very hot. He put fifteen pounds of pork on top of the 
beans in the kettle, put the kettle in the hole and packed 
around it a lot of small, hot rocks. The beans were then 
covered up with an iron cover, and a fire was built on top. 
This was done at sundown. There was a guard at the cook- 
tent, day and night, and he was requested to keep a fire on 
top of the beans all night. The next morning Company H 
had baked beans good enough for a king. The colonel was 
up late one night, as he frequently was, to see what was 
going on in the regiment, and saw the fire at our cook-tent. 
He inquired of the guard, "What is that fire down at Com- 


pany H's cook-tent?" The guard said they were cooking 
beans. "Company H is always cooking beans," he replied. 
He then went to bed. We sent him over a plateful the next 
morning. We had a loaf of good bread every day. It was 
said to be baked in the basement of the capital for the 
whole army. One of our four- horse wagons went down for 
our share every afternoon. The loaf of bread was usually 
more than I could eat in one day We had fresh beef every 
week, and I think potatoes. Still we did not live so well as 
at home, and the soldiers used to buy pie, cake and other 
things of the sutler. The company was called together for 
their meals by the orderly sergeant. They were marched 
down to the cook-tent, in charge of the sergeant or a corpo- 
ral, to receive their rations. We had good coffee morning 
and night, but had to buy milk, if we had any. The roll- 
call of the company by the orderly sergeant occurred twice 
a day, morning and night, and other times when the cap- 
tain ordered. At dress parade the orderly sergeant had to 
report to the colonel where every man was, besides sending 
a written report every day to headquarters at Washington. 
The 3d and 4th Maine, the 38th and 40th New York 
Regiments composed our brigade, and were encamped near 
each other. Each regiment was a camp by itself, and had 
a guard around it night and day. Details of soldiers were 
made every day from each company for guard dnty. They 
were on guard duty twenty-four hours. The guard was re- 
lieved every two hours by a corporal. One dark, stormy 
night between one and two o'clock, when I was on duty 
at the guard-house, I was ordered by the officer of the 


guard to go and see if the men were all at their posts. I 
had got almost round, when one soldier did not challenge 
me. "Halt! Who goes there?" "The corporal of the 
guard with the countersign." "Advance corporal of the 
guard and give the countersign." This had been gone 
through with at all other posts, but here I was not chal- 
lenged. I hunted about where the sentinel ought to be, 
but could not find him. I went to the officer of the guard 
and reported one soldier missing from his post. A lieu- 
tenant is always officer of the guard, and has command of 
the guard. The lieutenant told me to get the lantern and 
we would see if we could find him, —for it was as dark as 
pitch, and raining fast. We soon found him behind a hay- 
stack, fast asleep. The lieutenant waked him up, and 
asked him if he knew what the consequences were if a 
soldier was found asleep at his post. He said, he did. 
An order had lately been issued from headquarters, that 
a soldier found asleep at his post should be shot. We took 
him to the guard-house, but I never heard of his case after- 
wards. I am inclined to think the lieutenant did not re- 
port him. In fact I never heard of a soldier being shot 
for such an offence. The men were not required to work 
very hard, when they were detailed to work on a fort or 
at anything else, as a general rule. One day I had charge 
of a detail of twenty men, two from each company, to cut 
wood for the regiment. We went three or four miles from 
camp. The trees had been cut down in the summer, to 
prevent the rebels from getting near Washington, or the 


forts without being seen. The trees had to be cut into 
four feet pieces, and transported to camp by the govern- 
ment teams. 

In November our brigade built a theatre. The mem- 
bers of the brigade did all the work, put up the building, 
made gas to light it, painted the scenery, etc. The men 
that worked on the building had a free pass to all the 
plays all winter. Most of the actors were members of the 
brigade, though two or three stars were usually imported 
from Washington for the heavy parts. Concerts and plays 
were given all winter. 

One day our regiment had a sham fight. One of Com- 
pany G, who carried the colors, was badly wounded in the 
face. Another man who was trying to take the colors ac- 
cidentally shot him. The wounded man afterwards rejoin- 
ed the regiment, but carries a big scar on his face to this 
day from the effects of the sham fight. I saw him at the 
G A. R. reunion in Boston in 1890. The regiment had 
no more sham fights after that. 

The company used to shoot at a target quite often. 
The target was shaped like a man, and of about the same 
size, and was pretty well riddled with bullets by the time 
we stopped firing. We drilled in the Zouave drill. We 
used to have drills in the company street quite often among 
ourselves. A number of men would get together with 
their muskets, and call on one of the sergeants or corpo- 
rals to drill them ; so we became very proficient in the 
manual of arms and the company movements by the time 
we were called upon to fight. The captain used to invite 



the sergeants and corporals of his company to his tent 
Sunday afternoons, and give them instructions and good 
advice. He said he wanted his sergeants and corporals 
drilled so that they could command the company in case 
the commissioned officers should be disabled in a fight. 
He told us to carry some string or small rope and bandages 
in our pockets to use if we should be wounded. These 
meetings ended with a concert, there being a number of 
good singers in the company. Other singers from the 
rest of the regiment would usually join us after we had 
commenced singing, so that we had quite a crowd before 
we left the captain's tent. These meetings were very 
pleasant as well as instructive. 




On the 17th of March, 1862, our division, Hamilton's, 
afterwards Kearney's, of the 3d corps, Heintzelman's, took 
the* boat for Fortress Monroe, together with the rest of the 
army. Two or three weeks before we sailed we were ordered 
to have three days' rations cooked, and to be ready to move 
at a moment's notice. On our way down the Potomac, we 
saw Sickles' "Excelsior" brigade encamped on a high bluff 
on our left. We also passed Mt. Vernon, Washington's old 
home. It is beautifully situated on high land, about a 
quarter of a mile back from the river, and commanding a 
view for a long distance. I counted thirteen steamboats 
loaded with troops, — all of the 3d corps. On our right, 
between us and the Virginia shore, five gunboats accom- 
panied us, firing into the woods to dislodge any rebel bat- 
teries that might be there. At night we slept in bunks on 
the steamboat. The orderly sergeant took possession of 
the best bunk reserved for our company, and kept it for 
the captain. The Virginia shore for a long distance into 
the country was covered with woods. On the Maryland 
shore the ground was more open. Men were ploughing 
and getting the ground ready to plant. Those on the Mary- 
land shore waved their hats at us as we passed by. We saw 
the little Monitor some time before we reached our landing: 


place at Fortess Monroe. She looked like a mud-scow with 
a large cheese box on top, the cheese box representing the 
turret. As we drew near, at the request of some of the 
officers, the captain of our transport ship, went very close 
to the Monitor, so that we had a good chance to see her. 
A few days before this, the famous fight between the Moni- 
tor and Merrimac, had taken place. We could see where 
the shot had struck the sides and turret of the Monitor. 
The marks of the shot were about the size of a large saucer. 
They made dents in the iron of the Monitor, but did not 
break it, resembling the mark of a musket ball thrown into 
a piece of putty. The Monitor had steam up, and a naval 
officer was on top of the turret on the lookout for the Mer- 
rimac, expecting another fight. 

When we landed at Fortress Monroe, it was raining hard. 
We marched to our camp ground, and put up our tents; 
everything was soaking wet. Each soldier was provided 
with a rubber blanket and a woolen blanket. Two soldiers 
buttoned their rubber blankets together for a tent. The 
two blankets were then thrown over a pole or stick, held up 
by two crotched sticks, about three feet in length, stuck in 
the ground, six feet apart. The blankets were then fastened 
down to the ground on each side. One end of the tent was 
put towards the storm, and covered with a blouse, towel or 
anything handy. The other end was left open. The tent 
we happened to have was large enough to hold two men 
lying down. We put a board down on the ground to keep 
us out of the water. We put our knapsacks down at the 
closed end for a pillow, and then put down a woolen blanket 


to cover the boards. The other woolen blanket we put 
over us. In fair weather we usually had pine or spruce 
boughs for a bed. We turned in the first night at Fort- 
ress Monroe, with our clothes all on, wet as water could 
make us, and wrapped ourselves up in our blankets as close 
as possible. We were warm, and slept well the first night. 
In the morning, after we got up, our tent smoked like a 
coal pit. I expected to catch cold, but did not. We felt 
no bad effects from our exposure. We dried ourselves at 
a fire made of fence rails, which we found near by. 

The 16th Massachusetts was encamped near us. They 
had been there all winter. Their tents were large Sibly 
tents, that would hold twenty or thirty. They had a stove 
in the middle of the tent, and straw to sleep on. They 
said they had passed a very comfortable winter. General 
Wood had charge of the department of Fortress Monroe 
when we arrived there. His orders forbade the soldiers 
foraging. Our soldiers would get a pig or a hen, when they 
had a good chance. They acted so badly that an order was 
issued, confining the soldiers within their regimental lines. 
Still some had to go out for wood and water, and Mr. Pig 
would be run within the line. The soldiers inside would 
kill him as soon as possible, and as a result, we would have 
roast pig for dinner. One day I saw a pig run inside the 
lines by a water-carrier. The boys went for him as usual. 
The pig ran over the tents where some of the soldiers were 
lying down, and others were writing letters home. He 
made a great scattering. The soldiers shouted, and there 
was a great uproar for a while. But we had roast pig for 


dinner next day. just the same. Some of our company were 
acquainted with the 16th Massachusetts Regiment, and 
used to visit them quite often. One day the captain, who 
wanted to get all the company together for drill, told me to 
go down to the 16th Massachusetts Regiment with a file of 
soldiers, and see if I could find several men who were miss- 
ing. They saw me coming and ran back to camp, reaching 
there before I did. We did not stay at Fortress Monroe or 
Hampton very long, and I have no doubt that the inhabi- 
tants were glad to get rid of us. 

When we began the march, the soldiers threw away great 
quantities of extra clothing and other things they could 
possibly spare. I saw one of our company throw into the 
brush his knapsack and all there was in it. He said he 
was not going to kill himself lugging around a knapsack. 
The boys soon got lightened down so that they could march 
with some comfort. The negroes and poor people had a 
profitable time in picking up what the soldiers threw away. 
We passed by Big Bethel where General Butler had been 
defeated by the rebels the year before. Our troops had 
some skirmishing with the rebel rear guard, but they soon 
left us. A few were killed and wounded on both sides. 
The day we made the final advance on Yorktown, at twelve 
o'clock, noon, we were eating dinner. We were ordered to 
march, and had to finish our dinner as we went along. Very 
soon we were on the double quick. We drove the rebels 
within the fortifications in a hurry. We passed by a saw- 
mill, not far from the fort, where the rebels had left a pair 
of horses they had been using to haul logs to the mill, and 


some cattle they did not have time to get away. The rebels 
had partly destroyed the saw-mill, but the boys soon repaired 
it, and went to sawing logs to build houses with. They had 
one up the next morning. 

Now came the siege of Yorktown. We first went into 
camp in an open field in sight of the rebel fortifications. 
We soon moved our camp down to the lift in the woods out 
of sight, where we remained during the siege. We were 
ordered to move one Sunday. The rain came down in tor- 
rents, and we were drenched again. We had to move when 
ordered, rain or shine. We were engaged in building forts 
on the right, near the York River. One day we were re- 
turning from work in sight of the rebel fortifications, when 
the enemy fired a solid shot at us from one of their big guns. 
The ball made such a noise passing over us, that the whole 
regiment dropped to the ground as if they had been shot. 
The ball stopped a short distance from us, and after we got 
to camp, one of the men went back and got it. The 
next time we went to work we marched round through the 
woods, so that the rebels couldn't see us. They brobably 
fired the solid shot to get the range, so as to shell us the 
next time we came that way. 

One time as we were going through another open place 
on our way to work, we were fired on by the rebel sharp- 
shooters and cannon. A cannon ball buried itself in a 
bank on our left. One of the boys went to get the ball. 
As he was digging with pick and shovel, another ball struck 
within a foot of him. He dropped his pick and ran for dear 
life, followed by the shouts and jeers of the whole regiment. 
We dug for something else besides cannon balls after that. 


At another time we were working in a ditch out of sight 
of the rebels, when a piece of shell struck close by five or 
six men, but did not hit any of them. Lieutenant Gould 
had it dug up and sent home. After the close of the war 
I was in his office on School Street, Boston, one day, and he 
showed me the piece of shell that came so near killing some 
of us in the ditch before Yorktown. There were many 
deaths and many more narrow escapes from death, while we 
were at work on the fortifications during the siege. 

Berdan's sharpshooters were with us while we were at 
work in the daytime, picking off the rebels with their tele- 
scope rifles. Sometimes the boys would put up their hats 
on their bayonets and let the rebels fire at them. The 
rebels used to fire their cannon at night, but not so often as 
in the daytime, our men doing the same. 

The soldiers worked on the fortifications day and night. 
We usually had rations of tobacco and whiskey, when we 
came in from work. As I did not use either, they were not 
a great benefit to me. Sometimes I could sell them, but 
not always, as the soldiers were not very "flush" with 
money. Sometimes I gave away the tobacco and whiskey; 
at other times I did not draw them. 

During the night of May 3d, we had not heard any firing 
from the rebel batteries, — a very unusual thing. Our regi- 
ment was on picket. At daylight, on the 4th day of May, 
we heard great cheering in the rebel forts. Our men were 
in the rebel works. We soon heard that the rebels had left 
Very soon, three or four men came down where I was; they 
were all covered with dirt, blood and powder. They had 


been wounded by torpedoes, found in the ground within the 
rebel works. A number of our men had been killed by the 
torpedoes. After that our officers made the rebel prisoners 
dig up the torpedoes. I soon after went over into the rebel 
works with the rest of the regiment. The rebels had left large 
numbers of Sibly tents. The officers' tables were set, with 
butter, biscuit, and other things, ready for breakfast. 
Everything looked as if they had left in a hurry. 

In one of the streets I found a purse, containing some 
rebel money, postage stamps, steel pens, and a lock of hair 
done up in a piece of paper. Soon after the rebels left, a 
large body of our men went in pursuit. In the afternoon, 
after marching a few miles from Vorktown, our regiment 
went into camp. We did not put up our tents, for we ex- 
pected to march before daylight. In the night it rained. 
I woke up, and found the rain falling into my face. I pulled 
my rubber blanket over my head, and went to sleep again. 
The next day, which was the 5th of May, was cold, and 
disagreeable. We could hear artillery firing all the forenoon. 
The battle of Williamsburg had commenced. 

We had been supplied with plenty of ammunition before 
we left Yorktown. In the afternoon we had orders to march. 
We passed thousands of troops, halting in the fields by the 
roadside. We asked them if they had been in the fight. 
They said, "No." Kearney's division had been ordered to 
the front. We passed lots of artillery, stuck in the mud. 
The horses were up to their bellies in the mud. The 
soldiers were all round the cannon, trying to help, — pushing 
at the wheels, and from behind, and pulling at the tugs ; any- 


thing to get them out of the mud. We did not stop; we 
had another job on our hands. 

When we were within a mile or two of the battle ground, 
we were ordered to halt. Our knapsacks, and everything 
but our rifles, equipments and canteens were left behind, 
and two men from each company were detailed to guard 
them. We knew then that we had got to go into the fight. 
When the detail was made to stay with the equipments, 
Alexander Greenlough, one of our company, said he had 
been trying all day to discharge his rifle, but could not, 
since it had got wet. He asked to be one of the detail to 
stay with the equipments. The others of his acquaintance 
made fun of him, and said he was afraid to go into the fight. 
He said he did not care to stay behind, and would not, if he 
could help it, since they thought he was a coward, though 
he said he would be of no use in a battle with a rifle he 
could not use. He went into the fight, and was the first 
man in the company to be killed. 

The mud stuck to our feet, so that it was difficult walking. 
One man got into a mud hole, and we had to pull him out. 
As we came near the battleground we saw General Heintz- 
elman, calling to the soldiers: "No more Bull Runs, men. 
No more Bull Runs." His staff and a band of music were 
with him. He called on the band for some music. Every- 
thing was said and done to encourage the soldiers and make 
them do their duty. We could see the rebel fort, Magruder, 
in the distance. In front of the fort was a plain, this side of 
the plain was some felled timber, then woods where we 
were. The rebels were in the felled timber. 


Our captain marched the company by the flank. There 
was a ditch by the side of the road. By stooping down 
and walking in this ditch we could partly conceal ourselves, 
as we came into the felled timber. I saw a number of dead 
and wounded. One wounded man who was sitting behind 
a log, motioned to me to give him a drink of water. I put 
the canteen to his mouth, but the poor fellow did not get 
any water, as the stopper had slipped out on the march. It 
was a dangerous place for me to stop, and I went on. 

We jumped over the logs, shooting at the rebels when we 
had a chance. I went till I came to a log where one of 
General Sedgwick's staff was with a number of our men. 
The rebel balls were flying about them pretty lively An 
officer told some of the men to get behind another log. He 
said we were drawing the rebel fire. Some of the men left. 
I went where the captain was. We drove the rebels into 
the fort. As they were going into the fort, I levelled my 
rifle and gave them a parting salute. After the rebels had 
got into the fort, they fired shot and shell at us, and kept 
it up till after dark. The captain could see the flash of the 
guns, and would shout, "Down." We could get down be- 
hind the log before the shell reached us. One of our men 
was behind a log, raised by two hillocks. His head was too 
low. A ball struck his head, killing him instantly. 

After the rebels had stopped firing, our soldiers began to 
help the wounded to the rear. When I got up from the 
ground I could hardly stand. In hurrying into the fight, I 
had become heated and after lying on the wet ground had 
become lame and sore. In going to the rear, I met the 


captain and Corporal Hammond engaged in helping the 
wounded to the rear. The captain asked me why I was not 
helping the wounded to the rear. I told him I was so stiff 
and lame I could hardly walk myself. He told me to go to 
the rear and warm up. I found a very poor fire, since every- 
thing was wet. I managed to beg a cup of coffee from 
Corporal Shepard. That was all the supper I had that 
night. For breakfast I had the same as for supper the 
night before, minus the coffee. Nor did I get a wink of 
sleep all night. Not daring to lie down on the ground, I 
stood up behind a tree all night. The rebels evacuated 
Fort Magruder during the night, and retreated towards 
Richmond. The next morning it stopped raining. About 
ten o'clock our cavalry reported the enemy ten miles in 
advance. We then marched into Williamsburg. I bought 
some bread, ham and coffee of an old negro, and ate the first 
square meal I had had for two days, and that wasn't very 
square. In the afternoon, we went back to get our knap- 
sacks, blankets, etc. We passed over the battle-ground, 
and had a good opportunity to see the effects of war. It 
was a sad sight to see so many killed and wounded. I saw 
one rebel Indian, shot through the forehead. The dead 
were wrapped up in their blankets and buried together in a 
shallow trench. I saw one pile of our dead of twenty-nine, 
packed up against a tree like cord wood, ready for burial. 
Each company and regiment took care of their wounded 
and buried their dead after a battle, if they had time. The 
ground was so wet that it was difficult to bury the dead out 
of sight. We buried Alexander Greenlough of our com- 


pany, near where he fell. The rebel and our dead lay side 
by side on the battle-ground. There appeared to be as 
many rebels killed as Union men. We first drove them 
from the ground. Then they received reinforcements and 
drove us back. Each side fought over the ground a num- 
ber of times. At last we drove them into the fort, and they 
left in the night, as I have stated. 

The rebels charged on one of our batteries and took it. 
But our boys rallied and drove them off before they had 
time to carry away all the guns. We found our knapsacks 
all right. We then marched back to Williamsburg, and 
waited for our train, so as to get three days' rations. When 
we began a march we were usually provided with three days' 
rations. The army was in good spirits when the next ad- 
vance was made. The Army of the Potomac had won its 
first fight. We stayed a number of days at Williamsburg, 
getting ready for the next advance. 

Williamsburg is a city of ten or twelve thousand inhabi- 
tants, and is noted especially for being the seat of William 
and Mary's College. There were several churches, a large 
city hall and an insane asylum in the place. We did not 
see much of the children. I guess they had adjourned the 
schools. One of the merchants had a lot of rebel money 
which he invested in tobacco when the rebel army was there. 
When we took possession of the city, he sold the tobacco to 
our boys for greenbacks. He evidently thought more of 
greenbacks than he did of rebel money. He sent to head- 
quarters for a guard for his store, to prevent our troops from 
stealing his tobacco. We took quite a number of prisoners 


at Williamsburg. They were put under guard and given 
rations, the same as our soldiers. Our soldiers gave them 
tobacco when they asked for it. I heard one prisoner say 
his home was in Alexandria, and that he would stay there 
if he ever got back there again. Many rebels stayed in the 
woods away from their army, and gave themselves up when 
we arrived. When we left the city, I saw quite a number of 
ladies wave their handkerchiefs at us. I am inclined to think 
there were Union people there. After leaving Williams- 
burg we found the roads so soft in some places that we had 
to put logs down to enable the teams to pass along. These 
were called corduroy roads. In many places the roads 
were obstructed with trees, which the rebels had felled. 

One day when we did not march, Corporal Shepard and I 
went some distance from camp to wash some clothes. We 
were about half through with our washing, when we heard the 
assembly sound for drill. When we arrived at camp, the 
orderly sergeant wanted to know if we had been on drill. 
We told him "No." He said the colonel had ordered us 
under arrest for being absent from drill. We told Lieuten- 
ant Gould we were out washing some clothes, and did not 
get back in season. He went to see the colonel to get our 
release, which he refused to give. The lieutenant told us 
we might go and see the colonel, but he thought it would 
be of no use. I went to the colonel and told him I had 
never been off duty before since I had joined the regiment. 
He still refused to let us off, and said we must take the 
consequences. We were ordered to our tent and were not 
allowed to leave, and a guard was put over us. The guard 


was soon taken off, — and this was in our favor. When we 
resumed the march we were given our old places in the com- 
pany. That ended our case. I had tented with Shepard 
all the time we had been on the Peninsular. I noticed 
that the others changed tent-mates nearly every night, and 
finally told Shepard I thought we ought to change, also. 
He assented. I do not think, however, I gained any ad- 
vantage by the change. 

On the march we usually halted for the night before sun- 
down. One day, late in the afternoon, we halted for the 
night as usual. I was gathering some pine boughs for a 
bed, while my tent-mate was getting supper, when we heard 
the assembly. We knew we had got to march. There 
was much grumbling and not a little profanity, for we did 
not like to be deprived of our sleep. We marched all night 
among the army wagons. The rebel cavalry were hover- 
ing round, intending to destroy our wagon-trains, if they had 
a good opportunity. It was a very pleasant night, and the 
moon shone all night. 

Arriving at White House, on the Pamunkey River, we 
were encamped there several days. The steamers came up 
the river from Washington with supplies for the army. 
Some of the boats had things to sell the soldiers. I bought 
a loaf of white bread, which was a great treat. From White 
House we marched towards Richmond. At the time of the 
battle of Fair Oaks we had just received three days' rations. 
In the forenoon we heard more firing than usual. Lieuten- 
ant Gould, who had charge of the company, told me to take 
my place as sergeant after that. Captain Ingalls had been 
promoted major, after the battle of Williamsburg. 


Before noon, General Kearney rode by with his staff. As 
soon as the soldiers saw him, they said we should have to 
fight again before long. He inquired of some of the men 
what regiment they belonged to. They told him the 40th 
New York. He said, "Very well, very well," and rode on. 
He used to talk with the soldiers quite often, especially 
when there was going to be a fight. We saw an orderly 
ride up to the colonel's tent shortly after, and deliver a 
message. Our regiment was then ordered into line. Gen- 
eral Casey's division of 12,000 or 15,000 men who were in 
advance, were being driven back, and our corps, who were 
on the reserve, were ordered up to stop the rebel advance. 
Casey's men were going to the rear in squads, captains with 
parts of their companies, and colonels with parts of their 
regiments, in full retreat. I saw one captain with a musket 
in his hand. He had been fighting with his men. The 
right and left companies of our regiment were ordered to 
support Randolph's Rhode Island Battery. Our company 
was one of the two. In front of the battery were some 
earthworks. In our front was an open plain, and then 
woods. On our left and rear were thirty-six pieces of artil- 
lery, to sweep the plain in front. In the woods on our right 
was the infantry. The two companies were divided into 
squads of four men each. The best marksman was to fire, 
while the other three loaded. No man was permitted to 
leave the ranks for any cause, and as a result we had to go 
without supper and breakfast again. At night, the rebel 
line was close to ours. The 3d corps checked the advance 
of the enemy in the afternoon. I saw General Heintzel- 


mans in company with a colonel and part of his regiment, 
come out of the woods in our front in retreat behind his 
batteries. But he had stopped the rebel advance. He said 
he would have some of their batteries before night. Our 
officers were at work all night, perfecting the line of battle 
for the coming fight. In the night we heard a noise on the 
plain in our front. The long roll was beat, and every one 
was on the alert. An officer came from the other part of 
the line, and wanted to know what that noise was. A horse 
had got loose, and was running about over the plan. After 
it was known what made the noise, everything was quiet 
again. We thought the rebels were coming to attack us, 
sure. We did not get much sleep that night. The rebel 
general expected to drive the 3d corps as he had driven 
Casey's division. In that he was mistaken. At daylight 
the two lines of battle commenced firing. It was the loud- 
est firing I ever heard, and extended all along the line. 

General Heintzelman's headquarters were on our left and 
rear, under a large tree, and we had a good chance to see 
how a fight was conducted. He sent off a great many orders 
by his staff and orderlies ; some were verbal, and some were 
in writing, such as, "Tell General Sedgwick to be sure and 
keep the connection." I saw General Kearney come in 
from the fight. His horse was so tired he could hardly go. 
He had a number of horses at General Heintzelman's head- 
quarters. He could not mount a horse without help, hav- 
ing lost an arm in the Mexican war. He stopped to talk 
a few moments with General Heintzelman, then mounted 
another horse, and away he went again. After awhile we 


could hear loud cheering up in the woods on our right. 
Our troops were driving the enemy. General Heintzelman 
climbed up on the bank, swung his hat, and called for three 
cheers. "Those are our boys. Give them three cheers." 
Everybody cheered as loud as he could. He was so ex- 
cited, he could hardly stand still. General Hooker was 
sent in over the plain on our left with part of his division 
to flank the rebels. After he had got started, General 
Heintzelman sent a staff officer after him with some mes- 
sage. The staff officer rode like the wind. General 
Hooker got in the rear of the enemy, and then the rebel 
prisoners came in. They were the "Home Guard," com- 
posed of rich men's sons from Richmond. They wore 
fine gray uniforms. 

Our soldiers captured a large four-horse coach from Rich- 
mond. It was marked Spotwood Hotel, and was filled with 
planters, who had come from Richmond to see the fight. 
They had a negro driver. The soldiers told the planters 
they wanted the coach, and informed the negro that they 
would dispense with his services, as they could drive them- 
selves. I heard loud cheering in our front, and did not 
know what to make of it. Soon I saw the four-horse coach 
coming. It was covered with soldiers inside and out. They 
were on top, on the brake, and on behind where the bag- 
gage is carried. They were cheering, and having a great 
time. The coach was afterwards used to carry off our 
wounded. The rebel prisoners were very crestfallen ; they 
did not look up very often, they felt so badly They had 
expected to drive us into the Chickahominy, instead of 


being captured. Our men treated them well. I told some 
of Casey's men that our boys had driven the rebels back 
where they came from. They said they did not believe it. 
It was Casey's men that had been repulsed the day before. 
Late in the afternoon we were allowed to get something to 
eat. Casey's men had gone through our camp and taken 
our three days' rations, so that we could not find anything 
to eat. I went to our commissary department, and said I 
wanted three days' rations, and got them. One of Casey's 
division told me that our men fought well, but the rebels 
were all around them before they knew it. 

General McClellan came to General Heintzelman's head- 
quarters late in the afternoon, to see how he was getting 
along. I saw General McClellan when he came in our 
neighborhood ; he rode a few paces ahead of his body guard. 
Seeing a soldier with his arm done up in a sling, he stopped 
and asked him if he was much hurt and then rode on. Ar- 
riving at General Heintzelman's headquarters, he shook 
hands with the leading generals who had been in the fight, 
and some others, — Heintzelman, Kearney, Hooker, Sedg- 
wick; all had a pleasant smile on their faces. General 
Heintzelman knelt down on one knee, and marked out on 
the ground how he won the fight. The others stood round 
him in a circle. When he was telling of some important 
movement, he would look up to McClellan, who would nod 
his head and smile. It was a great sight to see so many 
distinguished generals together at one time. They appeared 
to enjoy one another's company. General McClellan's 
headquarters were about fifteen miles nearer Richmond 


than we were at the time of the battle of Fair Oaks. We 
were on the left wing of the army. It took a couple of days 
to get settled down to camp-life again after the fight; the 
dead had to be buried, and the wounded to be provided for. 

At the time when a general advance was ordered along 
the whole line at the battle of Fair Oaks, our regiment had 
to charge across an open plain before they could get at the 
rebels in the woods, and many were shot down. The color 
guard of our regiment, consisting of twelve men, were all 
killed or wounded. One of the color sergeants was wounded 
in the thumb; five balls had passed through his clothes and 
hat. Corporal Braslin, the color guard from our company, 
was dangerously wounded in the hip. Some of our boys 
carried him to the railroad station, where he took the train 
for White House. From there he was transported to An- 
napolis in a steamboat, and placed in the hospital. Some 
of our boys, who carried him to the station, said he would 
never live to get to Annapolis. He got better, obtained a 
furlough, and returned to Arlington. On one occasion he 
made some remarks at a public meeting there. He said he 
was going back to the front. They passed round the hat, 
and got eighty dollars for him. He served out his time in 
the army, and was present at one of our reunions not long 

When the color guard is formed, the colonel sends to the 
captain of each company in the regiment for a soldier for 
color guard. Captain Ingalls sent Corporal Braslin. There 
are also two color sergeants, making twelve in all. The 
color guard have no fatigue, picket, guard or other duties to 


perform. They are with the colors all the time. They are 
placed in the centre of the regiment on dress parade and in 
the line of battle. 

And now came camp life again, with its picket and fatigue 
duty, and drilling in company and battalion movements, 
when we had nothing else to do. One night a part of our 
company was on the reserve picket. In the morning, Lieu- 
tenant Gould was ordered to take four of his men and scout 
outside of the picket line. He was told to be careful, and 
not to go too far until he knew his country, so as to avoid 
a surprise. He passed the outside picket post, which was 
in charge of Sergeant Floyd of our company. He had gone 
but a short distance, when he was fired on by some rebels 
from behind a log. Two of his men fell, Thompson and 
Ellis. The rest returned the fire, and retreated to the re- 
serve picket. Before they retreated, Lieutenant Gould un- 
buckled his sword and placed it on the fallen bodies of his 
men. The reserve picket heard the firing, and were in line 
when the lieutenant came back. The officer of the picket 
told him to take his company and secure the bodies of his 
men that had been shot. It was in the woods where they 
had been killed, and the underbrush was very thick. The 
lieutenant deployed his company on the right of the road 
and ordered them to advance. The men next to the road 
were fired on by some rebel cavalrymen. We were then 
ordered to halt and afterwards to retreat, without recover- 
ing the bodies of Thompson and Ellis. One of the scouts 
afterwards recovered Ellis' body, and it was buried at Fair 
Oaks. Thompson and Ellis had come from Arlington with 


us, and Lieutenant Gould and all the rest of us felt very 
sorry to lose them. Lieutenant Gould was afterwards put 
under arrest, but none of us thought he was to blame. It 
was one of the casualties of war. He never recovered his 
sword and belt. The company made him a present of an- 
other one, costing thirty-five dollars. He was very popular 
with the men. Lieutenant Graves presented him with the 
sword and belt in behalf of the company, in a neat speech. 
Lieutenant Gould's complimentary reply was cheered 
heartily by the company. When we marched again, Lieu- 
tenant Gould was released, and placed in command of the 




And now we come to the Seven Days' Fight, and the re- 
treat to the James River. Before the retreat commenced a 
general order from General Kearney was read to the regi- 
ment by the colonel. The officers and men were ordered 
to destroy all their private property. The men were ordered 
to put eighty rounds of cartridges in their knapsacks, 
besides the usual forty rounds in our cartridge box, and 
nothing but hard bread in our haversacks. When the men 
were fighting, the officers were cautioned to have everybody 
in his place and doing his duty. On the charge the officers 
were ordered to take the lead. 

One night our regiment was on picket duty in front of 
our intrenchments, in a piece of woods, where there were 
some earthworks, about two feet in height. The rebels were 
very near us all night, so that we could hear them talk. They 
commenced firing on both sides in the night. It was as 
dark as dark could be. Which side commenced the firing, I 
I do not know. There was nothing to fire at, for we could not 
see anything. The officers on both sides ordered the men 
to stop firing. I did not fire, but was ready to kill the first 
man who came over the earthworks. After awhile the firing 
ceased, and everything was quiet for the rest of the night • 
But I did not sleep any all night, and I do not think many 


did on that picket line. A short time before daylight we 
retreated out of the woods. General Kearney was between 
us and the rebels. I heard the ball go whizzing by that was 
intended to kill him, fired by one of the rebel skirmishers. 
At another time, before we retreated, we were driven inside 
the intrenchments. We then went above the enemy on the 
double-quick, and tried to get in their rear. The rebels saw 
what we were up to, and ran like good fellows, and as they 
ran faster than we did, managed to escape us. We could 
hear heavy firing on our right, where General McClellan 
was two or three days before we retreated. The day before 
we retreated, we were given two months' pay. I went to 
Major Ingalls' tent, our old captain, to get him to sign 
some papers, so that I could send the money home. I 
asked him if the fight was in our favor, and he said it was 
not. He said it would be hard telling who would come out 
of the fight alive. That was the last time I ever saw him 
to speak with him. He was wounded in the leg at Charles 
City Cross Roads in the Seven Days' Fight. His leg was 
amputated in hospital at Annapolis, Maryland, but he died 
shortly after from the effects of the wound. He left a wife 
and child at Arlington. They came out to see him, and 
stayed a number of days, when we were at Camp Sacket, in 
the fall of 1 86 1. 

On the fourth day we retreated to a place near Savage 
Station. All of the three days we could hear heavy firing 
on our right and rear. Near the station we could see car- 
loads of ammunition blown up to prevent them from falling 
into the hands of the enemy. For they had cut the railroad 


between White House and Savage Station. In our rear 
where we had come from, we could see coming over the hill, 
artillery and parts of artillery, fleeing from the enemy as fast 
as they could go. The teamsters were lashing the horses 
to make them go faster. There was a large body of cavalry 
near where we were, which was ordered by General Heint- 
zelman to go to the defence of the batteries. He went with 
them. He wore a blouse and a felt hat, so that he could 
not be recognized by the enemy. It was a great sight to 
see such a large body of cavalry and artillery going at such 
a frightful rate. The ground fairly trembled with the shock. 
I never saw such a sight, before nor since, in horseflesh. In 
a retreat the officers have to be in the rear to see what is 
going on. Very soon we were ordered to march down the 
road where the artillery went. Some more batteries tore 
past us as we were in the road. Our men heard them 
coming, and shouted out, " Right and left, right and left," 
so that we stepped both sides of the road to let them go by, 
and nobody was hurt. It was a very warm day in June, and 
my load of cartridges was becoming very tiresome. I 
stepped out of the ranks and pulled the tins out of my cart- 
ridge-box, and packed it solid with cartridges, — eighty 
rounds, twice as many as I could get in with the tins in. In 
the tins of a cartridge-box there are forty cells, one for each 
cartridge. I left my knapsack with the rest of the cart- 
ridges in the bush. I could then march with some comfort. 
I saved a few sheets of paper, envelopes, postage stamps 
and a lead pencil, so that I could write home. Late in the 
afternoon we reached a bridge that was being built. The 


timbers were in place, but no plank. We marched over the 
creek on the timbers. After we had crossed, our skirmish- 
ers commenced firing. The enemy were in our front. We 
were not expecting to find them there. General Kearney 
was in the rear. Hearing the firing, he came where we 
were. He ran his horse through the creek. He was all 
covered with mud and water. He found General Birney, 
who commanded the brigade, and ordered him to march 
three of the regiments back over the bridge as quickly as 
possible, while he took the fourth regiment and engaged the 
enemy. After Birney got the three regiments back across 
the bridge, Kearney joined him with the fourth. We then 
proceeded by another road. It was a narrow escape, for if 
the enemy had attacked us at the right time with infantry 
and artillery, they might have killed or captured the whole 
brigade. So much for having a good officer to command 
our division. We marched until late at night, and had 
some supper of hard bread and coffee without any milk. 
The milkman didn't come round during the Seven Days' 

The next morning we ate our breakfast, and had every- 
thing ready to march before daylight. The first person I 
heard in the morning was General Kearney, waking up his 
staff and orderlies. He told them, "Wake up. We must 
be after the enemy." We marched a short distance and 
formed in line of battle on the edge of an open field, and 
waited for the enemy. There were lots of blackberries a 
short distance in our rear, and some of the men left the 
ranks to gather them. The officers told them they must 


not go far, and to come back as soon as they heard the 
drums. I went with the rest, and picked a good quantity 
of berries. Soon we heard the drums beat, and the men 
ran to get into their places. We were soon enough, for the 
rebels did not attack us for fifteen or twenty minutes. 
When our skirmishers were driven in, we moved down to 
the left into some woods and felled timber. Randolph's 
Battery came along where we were, in a hurry. They 
couldn't get through on account of the felled timber. They 
had just lost one of their guns, the rebels having shot one 
of the wheel horses. They cut the harnesses from the 
dead horse and the other wheel horses, and left in a hurry, 
abandoning the cannon. I saw by the looks of the drivers 
of the battery and the officers, that something disagreeable 
had happened. Late in the afternoon we got out of water. 
It was very warm, and we were very thirsty. Two men 
were detailed from our company with twelve canteens each 
to get some water. They returned without any. Two more 
were sent out afterwards, with the same result. In the 
afternoon we were moved further to the left, near where 
there was some hard fighting. Shells were flying about in 
a most lively fashion, and one piece came near Kearney's 
horse. The soldiers dodged behind trees to get out of the 
way of the shells. Kearney said to them, "Those shells 
don't hurt me. They won't hurt you." 

Our skirmishers were moved forward two or three times 
in the afternoon, and found the enemy in heavy force in our 
front. Heavy fighting continued all the afternoon on our 
left. This was the battle of Charles City Cross Roads, 


fought the day before we reached Malvern Hill. At night 
we posted our pickets. Oh ! for a drink of water. Late in 
the night the pickets were taken away. The officers went 
along the line and whispered to the men, so that the rebels 
would not know when we left. Oh ! for a drink of water. 
We marched the rest of the night without getting any. 
One time I thought I was going to get some. I saw a wet 
place in the road, and scooped the water up in my hand. 
But it was mud, water and sand, and I had to spit it out. 
We came to Malvern Hill about daylight. Soon after some 
of our men said there was plenty of water about twenty 
rods down to the left. I ran to the water and drank my 
fill. I expected to feel some bad effects from drinking so 
much, but did not. I filled my canteen and dipper, for fear 
I should get out again. There were many soldiers at the 
spring for water. As I was returning to my regiment, I 
met a man who wanted to know if I could give him a drink. 
I told him there was plenty a short distance down the hill. 
He was so thirsty that I gave him what I had in my dipper. 
I was very tired and sleepy, and one of my feet was sore. 
We had marched all night, without sleep or water. I went 
a short distance and sat down. Another regiment came 
where I was, and I thought they were going to walk over 
me. The colonel wanted to know if I was wounded, and 
I told him, "Yes." 

After resting a little while, I started to find my regiment. 
I found them in company with Randolph's Battery of five 
guns, one having been lost the day before, as I have stated. 
Our regiment was detailed to support this battery in the 


battle of Malvern Hill. The battery was placed near the 
foot of the hill. Back of us, about half way up the hill, was 
the hospital belonging to the regiment, with its red flag fly- 
ing. In our front was a small brook. The ground was low 
and marshy. Beyond that was a hill, wooded on top. On 
our left was some brush, with woods beyond. Our regi- 
ment was posted on the right, and in front of the battery. 
Some of the men had to lie down when the guns were fired. 
We had picks and shovels, and went to work constructing 
earthworks. A man on horseback rode out on the hill in 
our front, and after a short time rode back again. We 
thought it was General Lee, but I did not see anyone fire 
at him. About nine o'clock a rebel battery came out of the 
woods on top of the hill in front, and commenced firing at 
us. Our battery fired in return. We were ready and wait- 
ing for them. The men "went at it" in a lively manner. 
Our men had their coats off and their sleeves rolled up 
above their elbows. Every man connected with the battery 
worked with a will. The balls from the enemy came thick 
and fast. The captain of the battery rode back and forth 
in the rear of the guns, encouraging the men, saying, "Give 
it to 'em. Let 'em have it." One of the corporals who had 
charge of the gun nearest to us, told the captain that he had 
no water to wet the sponge to cool the gun with. The cap- 
tain said, " Give it to them without water." One of the 
shells burst just as it left the gun and hit one of our men. 
The soldiers began to go to the rear, saying they were not 
going to be shot by their own men. But we had to stay 
where we were. 


Three men near me were hit by the enemy's shells during 
the fight. Gleason, one of our company, was behind a 
bundle of straw. A shell struck him, and threw him, straw 
and all, three or four rods in the rear. The shot made a 
bad wound in his back, and he died soon after he reached 
the hospital. Another man named Thompson, one of the 
oldest men in the company, was wounded. He was not 
further than three or four feet from me, when he was struck, 

Another man of our regiment, but not of our company, 
was wounded in the head by a piece of shell. He lay in- 
sensible for three days. He was taken to the hospital at 
Hampton, Va., where he recovered. He was afterwards 
present at the battle of Gettysburg. Our colonel had 
orders to report at Gettysburg at a certain time. He sent 
word he would be there if he did not have five men. He 
told the regiment to keep up with him, if possible, but if 
they could not, to get there as soon as they could. He 
arrived on time, but had only seventeen of the regiment 
with him. George Harrington was one of the seventeen. 
He is now postmaster at East Boston, and as jovial as ever. 
Our regiment lost one hundred and fifty men atGettysburg; 
but I am getting a head of my story. There were many 
killed and wounded from our regiment at the battle of Mal- 
vern Hill, but how many I have not the means of knowing. 
At one time the captain of the battery, seeing a shell burst 
under the rebel guns, told the gunner to give them a solid shot. 
The solid shot hit on the axle of a rebel gun and knocked 
it to pieces. The corporal who fired the shot, climbed on 
the gun, took off his hat and gave three cheers. It was a 


chance shot, but it did the work, just the same. When the 
captain had seen the effects of the solid shot, he rode away 
to see some of the other gunners. One of the lieutenants 
told the captain they were out of spherical shot. The cap- 
tain sent a man on horseback over the hill to the rear where 
the reserve ammunition was kept. He came back with a 
four-horse load. The battery took a supply, and away went 
the four-horse wagon back over the hill on the double-quick. 

The gunners were fortunate in not being disabled during 
the engagement. I did not see any men or horses hit dur- 
ing the day. In action the horses are placed in the rear of 
the guns, facing the enemy. But there were many narrow 
escapes. I saw a solid shot strike between the fore legs of 
one of the lead horses, and run under the six horses and the 
caisson, rolling up the hill a quarter of a mile away. The 
horse hopped up on all fours, pawed the ground, shook his 
head, snorted, and appeared to be greatly excited, but he 
made no attempt to run away. The horses appeared to 
know what was going on as well as the men. 

We expected the rebel infantry would attack the battery 
during the afternoon, but they did not come. At one time 
General Kearney told the colonel that the rebels would make 
us a visit in about five minutes. We examined our rifles 
to see if they were all right. Later the general told the 
colonel they would pay us a visit in about three minutes. 
But they would have to drive back our regiment before they 
could reach the battery, and that would be a difficult thing 
to do, unless they attacked us in superior force. For the 
40th New York had a good reputation for fighting, and our 


colonel, E. YV Egan, was a fighting man. He was after- 
wards promoted major-general. 

Our battery could not silence the rebel battery. Another 
battery of four twelve-pound howitzers came into position 
on our left, about the middle of the afternoon. The rebel 
battery left, and we were glad of it. Late in the afternoon, 
we saw some men on horseback on the top of the hill in our 
rear. We were told by a man who came from the hospital 
that it was General McClellan and his staff. 

The great charge of the day was made near us on our 
left. I heard a loud noise behind me. Looking back I 
saw the hill all covered with troops, artillery, cavalry and 
infantry, all on the double-quick. They were hurrying to 
reinforce the left, when the great charge was made by 
Stonewall Jackson. We could hear the grape and canister 
fired by our batteries, crash into the brush. The attack 
was repulsed with great loss to the enemy, and the Army 
of the Potomac was saved. 

After dark our regiment moved back over the top of the 
hill, when we came to a halt and commenced throwing up 
earthworks, expecting to fight there the next day. I was so 
tired that I went to sleep standing, after we halted. I had 
a detail of men to look after, that were at work on the earth- 
works. Lieutenant Gould told me to keep them at work. 
I thought I could look after them as well sitting down as 
standing; but as soon as I touched the ground I was fast 
asleep again, though I had no intention of going to sleep. 
The lieutenant came along and hit me with the flat of his 
sword, and said, "Fletcher, this won't do." I did not allow 


myself to lie down again, but kept walking about during the 
whole night. Next morning we started for Harrison's 
Landing, arriving there in the afternoon. It rained most 
of the day. There was a large field of wheat near where 
we were stationed. It was done up in shocks, but the 
cavalry had taken most of it for their horses. I managed 
to get some loose straw, but as it was soaking wet, it wasn't 
of much use. I wanted it for a bed 

After we arrived at the landing, Corporal Hammond, my 
old chum, gave out. He sat down under a tree, and would 
not stir. Shepard and I pitched a tent and built up a fire. 
We then dragged Hammond into the tent by main force ; 
he was so exhausted that he could not help himself. We 
gave him some hot coffee and made him as comfortable as 
possible for the night. He afterwards was taken to the 
hospital and narrowly escaped dying. He joined the regi- 
ment sometime later, and served in the Wilderness cam- 

After our arrival at Harrison's Landing, there was some 
confusion in the army, as there always is after a big fight. 
I was sergeant of the guard the night following our arrival. 
I was all right, but somewhat tired and sleepy. I could 
have fought the next day on a pinch, however, but many 
could not. The next morning General Kearney drove in 
some cows, so as to have some milk for his hospital. We 
went into camp in the woods, and constructed some earth- 
works near by. One night our regiment was in the earth- 
works all night, expecting an attack, but the rebels did not 
come. We soon settled down to camp life again. 


One day, General McClellan, the President, and other 
dignitaries made us a visit. One night about twelve o'clock, 
without any warning, we heard heavy artillery firing in the 
direction of the river. The long roll was beat, and all the 
troops got into line in a hurry. No one knew what the 
firing was for Men were sent to the river to find out. 
On their return, they reported that the rebels were firing 
into our boats on the river. Our gunboats soon silenced 
the enemy, and we went to sleep again. The next day 
"Little Mac" sent some troops over the river and kept 
them there, so that we had no further trouble from that 

During the Seven Days' Fight I had lost and destroyed 
many things that a soldier wants, but which the govern- 
ment does not provide. So I wrote to my sister to send 
me a box of such things. The box was sent, but I never 
received it. It came to Harrison's Landing, after we had 
marched, followed me to Alexandria and to Centreville and 
below, when we went to reinforce General Pope; then back 
again to Alexandria, up to Harper's Ferry, in fact it followed 
the regiment wherever it went. Some of the boys got it 
after I had lost my leg, and thinking I would never want 
it again, divided the contents among themselves. 

One night, when I was on picket at Harrison's Landing, 
I had to take a piece of phosphorus wood to see what time 
it was, to relieve the guard. I could see quite plainly, by 
holding a piece of this wood close to the watch. There 
were large quantities of phosphorus in the Virginia woods. 
We were not allowed to make a fire or light a match, for 


fear of being seen by the enemy. I was sergeant of the 
guard, and Lieutenant Gould was officer of the guard. I 
tented with him that night. We talked a large part of the 
night about home, where we had been to school, and what 
we had done after leaving school. It appeared that he had 
been to Westford Academy where I had attended school. 
We did not see any rebels that night, but they were so near 
that we were cautioned not to make any unnecessary noise. 

Soon after arriving at the Landing we were ordered on 
fatigue duty. Only a small number reported for duty. The 
officer who had charge of the fatigue party, wanted to know 
where the men were. He was told that they were sick and 
lame. He ordered the sick and lame on duty. I had a 
lame foot, but was compelled to go with the rest of the 
cripples. We did not do much work. Some had their 
heads done up in a handkerchief, others their arms in a 
sling; and we were a sorry looking set, generally. Much 
of the sickness and lameness was feigned; we appeared as 
lame and sick as possible. The rest of the regiment laughed 
at us when we came to where they were. Nearly every 
body felt miserable for a number of days after the Seven 
Days' battle. But the wood had to be cut down, and forti- 
fications had to be constructed to protect us from the 

One day, in company with another soldier, I obtained a 
pass to go down to the Landing, about three miles distant, 
to see the place, and find out what was going on. We 
thought we saw an opportunity to make a little money to 
replenish our purses, which were getting low, by buying 


things of the steamboats that came up the river from Wash- 
ington, and selling them to the soldiers about the Landing. 
I had five dollars, and the other man had twenty-five dollars. 
We bought twelve bottles of honey, canned meats and other 
things. For the honey we paid fifteen dollars for twelve 
bottles, and sold it for two dollars a bottle. From the 
other things we bought, we cleared a handsome sum. In 
two or three hours we made twenty dollars. My partner 
furnished most of the money, but I did most of the trading. 
He thought he ought to have fifteen dollars, which left me 
only five dollars. We had nearly sold out, when we found 
out that we were disobeying the rules by selling to the 
soldiers. The provost marshal made his appearance, and 
we left for camp in a hurry. 




In August we were on the march again. We were or- 
dered to put every ounce we could spare into our knapsacks, 
which would be sent to us by boat. I put in my knapsack 
my testament which had been given me at Arlington, in- 
tending to bring it home with me when I came, my pistol, 
and in fact all my private property. My revolver cost fif- 
teen collars. I never saw the knapsack or any of its con- 
tents again. I heard later that the rebels sunk the boat 
which carried our knapsacks in the James River. So I sup- 
pose my knapsack is at the bottom of the James. 

Our first day's march was quite rapid, and I was tired 
when night came. The regiment encamped in line of bat- 
tle near a farm house. After breaking ranks the men ran 
for the tobacco house first of all, and filled their haversacks 
with tobacco. I managed to secure five or six sweet pota- 
toes about as big as my little finger. I boiled them in my 
dipper, and thought they were the best sweet potatoes I 
ever ate. I saw some cotton growing in the garden for the 
first time. It looked very beautiful. It was planted in 
rows three feet apart, and was twelve or fifteen inches high. 

That night as General Kearney was examining the roads, 
he was approached by a man who told him his soldiers were 
stealing horses out of the man's barn. " I don't want to 


know anything about your horses. I want to know where 
this road goes to," replied the General. 

The next morning we started in good season, and had 
another forced march. At night we encamped near a corn 
field. The corn was just right to roast, which was a great 
treat to us. I had to go quite a distance into the field be- 
fore I could get a supply ; the boys had evidently been there 
before. While getting my corn, I heard considerable noise 
in front, like some one running towards me. I thought the 
rebels wene coming. Soon I saw a hen running, pursued 
by one of our soldiers. They did not see me. I suppose 
one fellow had chicken for supper that night. 

When we left next morning, there was very little corn 
left in the field. The soldiers took everything about the 
place that was fit to eat. When we left Harrison's Landing 
we took a little bag of salt, which we obtained of the cook. 
The salt worked in well here with the parched corn. Black- 
berries were plenty, but we did not have much time to pick 

In the morning we took an early start, and hurried for- 
ward again. At night we encamped near a grocery store. 
The soldiers found a pair of mules in the cellar and two or 
three barrels of cider. " Pass your dippers round, boys, " 
and away went the cider. The doors and windows of the 
grocery store were all nailed up ; so the boys thought there 
must be something good inside. It did not take long to 
open the doors, and lots of good things were found inside, — 
sugar, molasses, tea, coffee, and other good things which we 
helped ourselves to. One of the boys handed me a pint of 


sugar, which I managed to get rid of. The boys took every- 
thing they could find that was good to eat, and nobody tried 
to stop them. In the house near by were a man and some 
women, but they never said a word. I learned afterwards 
that the man who owned the store traded with the union 
scouts when they came there, and with the rebel scouts and 
pickets when they came round. We had just come from 
the Seven Days' fight, and thought we had already paid the 
the rebels for anything we might take. 

When we arrived at Yorktown, wefound the three months' 
men guarding the place. They were dressed up in nice 
clean clothes, with shoes blacked, and wearing white gloves. 
Quite a contrast to us who had gone through the Penin- 
sular Campaign, with our ragged and dirty clothes. The 
boys made lots of fun of them. " Say, mister, what was 
the price of white gloves in New York, when you left," 
called out one of our boys to a "dudish" looking sentinel. 

As soon as we arrived at Yorktown, our regiment em- 
barked on a steamer and sailed to Alexandria, where we 
stopped only a few hours. No one was allowed to leave the 
ranks. How I wished I had a little money to buy some- 
thing nice to eat! A dollar even would be a great relief. 
One of the lieutenants owed me twenty-five cents, which I 
tried to get, but could not, for he was out of money. Every 
one was out of money. 

At Alexandria we took the cars to reinforce Gen. Pope. 
We went about twenty-five miles south of Centreville towards 
Richmond, riding part of the way on the cars, and march- 
ing part of the way. We could hear the sound of war again, 
— artillery in the distance. 

1 66 CIVIL WAR. 

The negroes were going to the rear in large numbers. I 
saw one old negro driving a pair of very fat oxen, which 
were yoked to a long wagon, and in the wagon were lots of 

little negroes, too small to walk. As he passed by us he 
called out: "Jackson too much for d'em, Jackson too much 
for d'em," then he would whip up the oxen. There were 
not many in the crowd but old men and women and little 

We hunted and hunted for water fit to drink, but could 
not find any. It was of a reddish color and did not taste 
good. I did not like the looks of the country here, and 
would much prefer to live on the peninsular between the 
York and James Rivers. 

The first thing we knew the whole rebel army was in our 
rear, and we went back after them by forced marches. We 
marched till late at night. At last I told Sergeant Wiley, 
one of our men, that I was not going any further that night, 
rebels or no rebels. He said he felt about as I did, and we 
commenced to get supper of salt beef, hard bread and coffee. 
The regiment did not go much further, and we went up to 
where they camped. Other regiments were encamped all 
about us. Far and wide we could see their camp fires. 
We could see the fires at Centreville that the rebels had 
started. They destroyed large quantities of military stores 
and long trains of cars full of supplies for our army. 

The next morning one whole regiment was deployed 
across the railroad track as skirmishers, but we did not see 
the enemy. Many houses were full of wounded soldiers 
from Joe Hooker's Fight, as he came down to reinforce Gen- 
eral Pope. 


We found Centreville still burning, as well as our supplies. 
We drove the enemy from Centreville before they had time to 
remove or destroy all the goods. I saw large quantities of 
shoes, beef, hard bread, pork and other things. I stopped 
to pick up a piece of pork and hard bread. The bread was 
much better than what I had, so I emptied my haversack, 
and filled it with good bread. 

The rebels burned the bridge below Centreville, thereby 
preventing teams from going to Washington. After we 
drove the rebels from Centreville, they returned to their old 
battle ground at Bull Run. I saw General Pope and staff 
when they arrived at Centreville. As he came in sight, 
General Kearney rode down to meet him, and asked if he 
should put his cavalry in advance. General Pope said, 
"No, I want General Burnside to get to a certain place be- 
fore you start. " General Kearney was very indignant, and 
came back twitching his horse's rein impatiently, with his 
one arm. This was about twelve o'clock. 

If General Kearney had had his say, he would have had a 
lively fight with them that afternoon, but as it was, the rebel 
army had all that afternoon to get in good position and al- 
ready for us the next morning. 

We moved towards Bull Run and our regiment formed a 
hollow square ready to receive cavalry, the other regiments 
doing the same. The distance between us was ten or fif- 
teen rods. Our cavalry took prisoners of one picket post 
of fifteen or twenty men, but when they made a second 
charge they were repulsed. We saw them come out of the 
woods after their defeat. Some afoot, some horses were 


without riders, some soldiers were wounded and hardly able 
to cling to their horses, and the others scattered all about 
the country. A cavalry repulse is an awful sight to see. 

That night we camped where we were. After breakfast 
the next morning three days' rations were issued, also forty 
rounds of cartridge to each man, cap box replenished, and 
the sergeant inspected each man's cap and cartridge box to 
be sure he was supplied. We were also marched to a 
stream of water to fill our canteens. Everyone looked so- 
ber, and very little talking was done. The soldiers know 
when they are going into a fight. We could hear the artil- 
lery in front. Batteries passed us going to the front covei ed 
with hay, the horses with bags of oats on their backs. 

Everything pointed towards a big fight. The rebels were 
in heavy force in a piece of woods on an open plain, in our 
front. Our army tried all the morning to get the rebels out 
of those woods, but in vain. General Kearney was to try 
his hand ; he sent our brigade — Birney's — four regiments on 
the right of the woods to flank them. When we came to the 
hill, we were shelled from the confederate artillery. The 
shells came thick and fast. One piece touched the hair on 
the back of my head and dropped at my heels. I was 
stunned, for an instant, but only a moment. 

Then came the order from General Birney: "By the left 
flank, march, double quick, march." We were coming on 
the rear of the rebels in that piece of woods. The enemy 
ran up the hill firing at us as they went. Then came the or- 
der from Birney: "Fire!" and we did it, loading and firing 
as fast as we could. When I saw a man, I fired at him, but 


I fired just the same if I could see no one. The order al- 
ways was obeyed. I saw that one of our men, named Booth, 
was shot in the leg. After we had driven the enemy up the 
hill I asked Lieutenant Gould if I could go back and get 
Booth. The orders were not to have any man leave the 
ranks, he said. As we were not firing, I thought I should 
have time to go back before the order came to advance. 
Booth lay there for a week with scarcely anything to eat. 
He was nothing but a skeleton when found. One of the 
Sanitary Commission found him and brought him to Wash- 
ington. After the retreat of our army, some of the rebels 
who came along would give him something to eat, and oth- 
ers take it away. 

Late in the afternoon we drove the enemy out of another 
piece of woods. They were down in an old railroad cut. 
We had expended most of our forty rounds before we got 
them out, but they had to go. Down in the cut we went 
after them, over the cut, and up the other side. I stopped 
in the cut to fire at a rebel who had just left; he was not 
more than four or five rods from me. I supposed I could 
drop him without any difficulty I fired, but he didn't stop. 
I was excited and too sure of my mark. 

After crossing the bank on the other side, we found the 
enemy's dead very numerous. I saw several rebels lying 
down in a ditch or low place with their faces to the ground. 
They were undoubtedly alive. I asked them what they 
were lying down there for ; but they did not answer. I was 
very busy firing at the time, and did not molest them. 


At last we began to get short of ammunition, and some 
of the soldiers were all out, and were taking cartridges from 
those that had fallen. After we had gone a little distance 
from the cut, I saw the regiment going to the rear. I knew 
they had orders to retreat, though I did not hear the order, 
for they were all going together. I started to go with them. 
One Lieutenant M., of another company in our regiment, 
said : " Hold on. They'll be back here in a minute," at the 
same time swinging his sword in the air, and calling, " Come 
on, boys." Supposing he knew what the order was, I kept 
on firing, for I had a few more cartridges left. He was shot 
through the body The rebels were in heavy force in our 
front in plain sight. Not liking to be so much exposed, I 
stepped a few feet to the right, and kept on firing through 
a crotched tree. I was now getting out of cartridges. 
Looking around me, I saw none of the regiment in sight. 
I felt sure the rebels knew where I was, because I could 
hear the balls strike the tree or whizz by, when I exposed 
any part of my body. What to do I did not know. To run 
to the rear seemed certain death, and to be taken prisoner 
was about as bad. I grasped my musket, and ran to the 
rear as fast as my legs would carry me. The rebel balls 
flew around me like hailstones, but not one touched me. 
It seemed almost a miracle that I was not hit. I did not 
have to go very far, as it was in the woods, though the trees 
were not very thick. I had gone but a few rods to the rear, 
when I came to Lieutenant M., who had been mortally 
wounded in the body. Lieutenant Fletcher of Co. G., his 
intimate friend, was with him, and one or two others. He 


was in great pain. They asked me for water, and I gave 
them all I had in my canteen. I took his equipments and 
the others carried him till we came to an ambulance. He 
begged Lieutenant Fletcher not to leave him. Fletcher 
said he would not, though he was disobeying orders in be- 
ing away from his company Fletcher asked me to find his 
captain, Lindsay, and tell him where he was, but to tell no 
other living man. 

I saw another wounded man near the ambulance. One 
of his heels had been cut off by a piece of shell, as clean as 
if cut by a knife 

After seeing Lieutenant M. in the ambulance, I looked 
around to find my regiment. It was getting dark. I in- 
quired of everybody I saw if they knew where the 40th 
New York or Birney's brigade was. Nobody seemed to 
know. It was now so dark that I could hardly see. At 
last I saw a fire a short distance away. I went to it and 
found a soldier heaping on brush. In answer to my inqui- 
ries he said he was getting General Birney's supper. He 
was General Birney's cook. He said I had better stay 
where I was, as the brigade would all be there in a short 
time. I did not have to wait long, and glad enough I was 
to be with my regiment again. 

We camped where we were over night. Our supper and 
breakfast consisted of salt beef, hard tack and coffee as usual. 
I think we did not do any fighting during the next forenoon. 
We had driven the enemy from our front the day before, 
and had had some hard fighting to do it. If the rest of the 
army had done as well, the Second Bull Run would have 


been a victory instead of a defeat. Or if McClellan had 
been in command of the army, it would have been a victory, 
as he never knew what defeat was. 

In the afternoon of the second day our brigade was sta- 
tioned in an open field, surrounded by woods. I saw Gen- 
erals Heintzelman, Kearney and McDowell ride back and 
forth a number of times in our front. What they were af- 
ter I could not say. Late in the afternoon we heard heavy 
firing on our left. Later we were ordered to retreat. As 
soon as we emerged from the woods, we could see that the 
left wing of the army had been driven back. Our brigade 
started to run. I threw away everything I had except my 
musket and equipments, as it was hard for me to keep up. 
We had gone but a short distance when General Kearney 
saw the brigade running. He said : "What! my men run- 
ning?" General, speaking to General Birney, "bring your 
men down to quick time." They stopped running before 
Kearney had finished speaking. We marched a short dis- 
tance, when we halted near a battery. While we were there 
one of the battery fired a shot into a company that was 
coming towards us about a quarter of a mile distant, think- 
ing they were rebels. The company halted and told the 
battery to stop firing ; they were our men. I did not hear of 
any one in the company being killed. They then came 
towards us. 

While we were halting near the battery, a large body of 
men filed down near us in our front. General Kearney, 
thinking they were our men, rode towards them. They 
were rebels. The first thing he knew, he was between the 


rebel pickets and line of battle. But he found it out before 
the rebels found out who he was, and turned to come back. 
In coming back he came near a rebel picket, who told him 
to halt. He said, "Can you tell me where the — th regi- 
ment is?" naming a southern regiment he knew to be in 
that locality. The picket, supposing him to be a rebel of- 
ficer, let him pass. So he escaped. Another of Kearney's 
hair breadth escapes ! 

While we were retreating across Bull Run, the artillery 
and cavalry went over the bridge, while the infantry waded 
through the river. The water was up to my hips. I had 
to -hold up my cartridge box to prevent its getting wet. We 
marched to Centreville that night. Lieutenant Gould found 
a blanket in the road the next morning, and told me to get 
it, seeing that I had none. We stopped at Centreville two 
days. We could see the wounded going to the rear con- 
tinually from the Bull Run battle ground; some in ambu- 
lances, some on foot, with their arms and heads tied up. I 
borrowed some paper and envelopes, and wrote home to my 
friends to let them know I was safe, as I always did after a 
battle. I sent the letters by a citizen, who said he would 
post them at Washington. I saw quite a number of citizens, 
who were there to see the fight. They had better have 
been somewhere else. One of them told us we looked as 
if we could fight. We made no reply to such a remark as 

On the afternoon of the second day after we had returned 
to Centreville, we saw the wagons and ambulances com- 
ing back from Washington. The rebels were between 


us and W ashington. YVe were ordered into line. Every- 
one was given the usual rounds, and the cap box filled. 
We expected some sort of a "brush" with the enemy, but 
did not expect much of a fight. One of the sergeants 
stepped out of the ranks, and said he thought there wouldn't 
be much of a fight; if he thought otherwise he would be 
with us. He had a lame foot. As we passed along the 
road we could see nice carriages broken in pieces by the 
rebels; they belonged to people in Washington, who had 
come to see the fight, and were returning. 

After marching a number of miles, we filed to the left, 
through the woods. We could hear the racket in front, and 
knew we were near the battleground. The men seemed to 
dread going forward more than usual. The whole company 
seemed to hang back. Lieutenant Gould seeing what was 
up, pulled out his sword and said to the sergeants, "Don't 
you let a man leave the ranks." He looked as though he 
would bite the men's heads off if they did not keep in their 
places. I never saw the men backward about going into a 
fight before. The officers talked to them, and called them 
cowards. One of the men stepped up to me and said, "Do 
you call me a coward ? " "Very well, said I ; then go along with 
your company." I told another man who held back: "You 
fought well at Bull Run, you can fight now." He said he 
was not going in there. I told him he must go with his 
company or there would be trouble. 

The men did better after the officers had given them a 
good talking to. I do not think a man left the ranks. We 
did not have to use anv force. Before we came out of the 

SECOND BULL RUN AXD CHANTILLY. 1 75 rained very hard; it was a regular thunder storm. I 
managed to keep the lock of my rifle dry, by putting it un- 
der my arm. Soon after we came out of the woods, we came 
to a house and shed. As we passed down to the left of the 
house to a cornfield, I heard General Kearney say, "The 
38th and 40th will be in reserve." Rut we were not; we 
were in the thickest of the fight. After we reached the 
cornfield we commenced firing. I was well to the front; 
there were only a few ahead of me. I was kneeling down 
on my right leg, making a rest for my rifle with my left 
hand, my left elbow on my left knee. I had cautioned the 
men back of me not to hit our men in front. The men 
looked anxious, and had their eyes wide open. I was put- 
ting a cap on my rifle, to fire for the third time, when a ball 
struck my knee that was on the ground on the inside. It 
entered the crack of the joint diagonally, striking the knee 
pan, which turned it, so that it made a half circle, cracking 
the bone nearly to the hip, and stopping just outside of the 
bone. I jumped for the rear, as soon as I was hit. The 
wound was very painful. It seemed to shake me all over. 
I didn't think the men near me knew I was wounded. I 
said nothing to them about it. With the aid of my rifle, I 
managed to hop to the rear, a distance of about ten rods. I 
then felt tired and faint. I saw some men behind the shed, 
— the same house and shed we saw as we went into the 
fight. One of them was a sergeant of our regiment; 
but not of our company. I called to them to come and 
help me. Two of them came. I passed an arm around 
each of their necks, and they put their arms around 


my waist. We had gone but fifteen or twenty rods when we 
came to some men who had a stretcher. I asked them to 
carry me, as I was unable to go any further. At first they 
refused, on the ground that I did not belong to their regi- 
ment. I told them I was a wounded man, and could go no 
further without being carried. They finally consented to 
have me get on the stretcher, and carried me away They 
belonged to the ambulance corps, and were just the men I 
wanted to see. 

They cut my trousers open, and tied a bandage tightly 
above the wounded knee. This lessened the pain. I saw 
a great many of our wounded going to the rear. Some had 
help; others hobbled along as best they could. Our order- 
ly sergeant, Durgin, was wounded in the hip. Seeing me, 
he said, "Fletcher, I would help you if I could ; but I can 
hardly go myself." 

I saw a brigadier-general with two men helping him to 
the rear. It was General Stevens, I suppose, who after- 
wards died, for he was the only brigadier general wounded 
in this battle. 

I was carried to some buildings consisting of a house, 
barn and an old mule house made of logs. The mule house 
was full of wounded men. Our orderly sergeant was out- 
side when I came up, and said to those inside, "Lie along. 
Sergeant Fletcher wants to get in there." Then I got un- 
der cover. Soon after I was put in the mule house, Lieu- 
tenant Gould was brought in, wounded in the knee. He 
was in great pain. He was soon after removed by some of 
our men. When he left, I told him to send some one for me. 


He said he would, if he could. It was the rule to take care 
of the commissioned officers first. 

After dark some surgeons came with lanterns, and took 
the ball from my leg. They asked me if I wanted it, and I 
told them I did. I carried it home with me, and lost it when 
I was at the G. A. R. convention at Portland, Me., in 1885. 

Some time in the night, some of our officers came and 
said that everyone who could possibly get away, must leave. 
We knew then that we were to be left to the tender mer- 
cies of the rebels. I tried to crawl away into the brush, 
but was unable to do so. Late in the night I heard Cor- 
poral Flynn of our company talking to some one outside: 
I called to him, and begged of him to take care of us. At 
first he refused, saying he would be taken prisoner in the 
morning, and sent to Richmond. I told him I did not be- 
lieve there would be any danger, if he tied a piece of white 
cloth round his arm and told the rebels that he belonged to 
the ambulance corps. Finally he consented to stay with 
us. Flynn told me that if I had read my Bible, as he had 
read his, before going into fight, I would not have been 
wounded. I wish I knew where he is now. I would give 
more to see him than any other man I ever knew. 

We were a sober set of men that night, for we knew we 
should be prisoners in the morning. I myself was wet, for 
there had been a heavy shower before the fight. There 
was a fire outside the cabin, but I did not feel able to drag 
myself to it. A pretty fix for a man to be in; dangerously 
wounded, soaking wet, a prisoner in the enemy's hands, and 
almost out of food. 


The next morning about nine o'clock, we saw a rebel 
cavalryman come to a knoll, a few rods from us. Soon he 
was joined by five or six more. Then one of them came 
down where we were, and looked all about the buildings, 
finding nothing but wounded men. Soon afterwards he 
was joined by the men he left on the knoll and also by some 
infantry that had come up in the meantime. Having placed 
a guard around the buildings, they proceeded to the battle- 
field, where they took everything they could find, — even 
stripping the dead. 

All the rebel soldiers I saw looked well and were well 
armed. The cavalry rode good horses, and were armed 
with sabres, five-shooting carbines, and large Colts' revolv- 
ers, the same as our cavalry. A rebel colonel came into 
the building where we were and took all our names, to be 
exchanged. He said he could do nothing for us, the com- 
missary stores not having arrived. One fellow thrust 
his head into the door and told us we had no business down 
there, anyway. We made no reply. The rebels did not 
take anything from us, as far as I know. We felt safe as 
long as the guard was there, but when this was removed, 
we could not help feeling uneasy. Still we were not mo- 
lested, — and we stayed there a week. 

After the guard left, I asked Flynn if he knew whether 
any of our company had been killed or wounded. He told 
me he saw a man by the name of Wiley coming to the rear 
with his hand on his breast, and that afterwards he had 
found his dead body; that all the commissioned officers and 
sergeants had been killed or disabled, and that a corporal 


had commanded the company. Besides, many of the pri- 
vates were killed. Chantilly was a Gettysburg for our com- 
pany, and in fact was a most severe fight for all engaged. 
The 2 1st Mass. lost more men in this battle than in any 
other during the whole war. 

When we had been prisoners a few days, our rations gave 
out. Flynn dug the garden over two or three times, and 
cooked for us all the potatoes, beets, turnips or other eat- 
ables he could find. I was always served first. Two sur- 
geons were left to take charge of us, but we did not have 
our wounds dressed till the fourth day after the fight. The 
surgeons told us they had been busy day and night since 
the battle. There were about one hundred and fifty wound- 
ed men in the buildings where we were; five or six died of 
their wounds every twenty-four hours. Flynn and the oth 
erwell men buried them. None died in the cabin where I 
was; the worst cases were in the house. 

Flynn stayed with us till we went away. I have not seen 
or heard from him since. I have sometimes thought he 
might have been taken prisoner after we left, and carried to 

The next morning after we had been taken prisoners, the 
rebels told us that they had killed " that one-armed devil, 
General Kearney." We told them we did not believe it. 
One poor fellow, who lay next to me, had a very painful 
wound in his instep. He and I agreed to go away together, 
if we could. After the first twelve hours, my wound did 
not pain me. I washed it from time to time, and tried to 
keep it as cool as possible. The first man to dress the 


wound was a volunteer surgeon. He put round it some 
nice, clean cloth, which made it feel much more comfortable. 
He said he was going away a short distance to where the 
rebel wounded were to get a canteen to carry home as a relic. 
He said he would see me again when we reached Washing- 
ton, and he kept his promise. 

The last few days we had very little to eat except coffee. 
The agents of the Sanitary Commission were the first to 
find us; and then we had bread in abundance. I ate so 
much bread and coffee that I made myself sick. The agent 
was very kind to us; he said he would have come to us be- 
fore, if he had known where we were. One day. late in the 
afternoon, after we had been prisoners about a week, we 
saw an ambulance standing in front of the door of our pen. 
We thought we were going away, sure; but I was mis- 
taken. I made up my mind, if another ambulance cart came, 
to get into it, if possible, for I had been there long enough. 




The next morning an ambulance came and stood before 
the door again. I crawled to the door, and with the assist- 
ance of a man who was standing near, managed to get into 
the ambulance. There were some thirty ambulances in the 
train, each drawn by two horses. There were two wounded 
men in each, lying on beds. The ambulances extended 
out over the wheels, so that we had plenty of room. 

The agent of the Sanitary Commission accompanied us 
to Washington, and very kindly furnished us with wine 
and brandy and water. We started from the prison pen 
about four o'clock in the afternoon, and arrived in Wash- 
ington about dawn the next day. I did not sleep much, 
I was placed in the Cliffborn Hospital. Clean clothes were 
given us, and we were washed for the first time for a week. 

The ward surgeon looked at my wound the first thing 
in the morning, and told me the leg would have to come 
off. I did not like that very well. The head surgeon ex- 
amined the wound and wanted to know if I felt well. I 
told him "first rate, all but the wound." He said he would 
try to save the limb, and had it bathed night and day in 
ice water. Cliffborn Hospital was situated about three 
miles east or north east of the city. 


Immediately upon my arrival in Washington, I wrote 
to several of my friends at home to let them know what 
had happened to me. I asked my brother, Theodore, to 
come to me as soon as he should receive my letter, fo,r I 
wanted to see some one I knew. The letter was delayed 
somewhere. He did not arrive in Washington till a week 
after my limb had been amputated, about the 25th of Sep- 
tember He received the letter one morning and started 
for Washington in the afternoon. My wound did not pain 
me from the time of my arrival at the hospital till the 
amputation. On the 1 8th of September I was not feeling 
as well as usual. Later in the afternoon a surgeon 
came to me and said they were going to examine my 
limb, and if necessary amputate it. I told them to go 
ahead. A sponge saturated with ether was put to my 
nostrils, and soon I was unconscious. When I came to, it 
was candle light; two nurses were standing by me, one on 
each side of the bed. The first thing I heard was, " Why 
don't you wake up, Fletcher ?" They were pinching my 
nose and ears. I told them to let me alone. I had no 
feeling in my hands or feet; could talk, but could not stir. 
I felt no pain. But very soon I did feel a terrible pain at 
the end of the stump, and told the nurses they must do 
something to relieve it. They said they would in a short 
time; they wanted to wait till the ether had left me. In 
due time I was given something which relieved the pain, 
but I did not sleep much that first night, and when I did 
sleep I was dreaming all the time. 


The surgeon did not remove the bandage from the 
stump for two days after the amputation, and he found it 
badly dried on to the flesh, so that it took him a long time 
to take it off. When a leg is amputated, about a dozen 
little arteries have to be tied up with little strings and left 
two or three inches long. Some twelve or thirteen days 
after a limb is amputated these strings drop off of their 
own accord. Fifteen days after my leg was taken off the 
surgeon found one of the strings still on the wound, and 
was somewhat alarmed. He pulled it off, however, with- 
out disturbing the artery. I suffered considerable pain, 
and was obliged to take morphine every night to make me 
sleep. I usually felt pretty comfortable in the morning, 
however. I had to lie on my back all the time. The 
wound was very slow in healing, and my appetite was poor. 
I lived on milk punch and two bottles of London porter a 
day. For two or three weeks my brother, Theodore, came 
to see me every day for a little while, and most of the time 
on Sundays. He then was obliged to go home to make 
arrangements for his fall work, but soon came back again. 

For a week or more the surgeon dressed the wound, and 
then the ward master. None of the nurses could dress it 
without giving me great pain. The stump was not doing 
well; it would not heal; great ulcers formed which the sur- 
geon lanced, giving me much pain. I dreaded to see him 
every morning, and was glad when he left me. He said he 
wanted I should eat something, and told me I could have 
anything I wanted. When Theodore came back, he 
brought me some splended peaches, which I was very glad 


to eat. A few days later a wounded man in the hospital 
ate some fruit which turned his stomach. The exertion of 
vomiting caused him to burst an artery, so that he bled to 
death. The head surgeon after that gave orders that no 
more fruit should be brought into the hospital. I had 
quite a number of peaches left, but did not eat any more. 

One day the ward master told me that there was another 
man in the hospital whose thigh had been amputated in 
about the same place as mine, and that he was in about the 
same condition that I was. " Now, let me see," he said, 
" who is the best fellow." Every morning they told me his 
condition. After a number of days I was told he was not 
doing well ; he would not lie still, and this made bad work 
with his stump. He was finally tied to the bed post, but 
even then he could not be kept quiet. One morning the 
surgeon told me the poor fellow had died during the night. 
Out of seven or eight in my ward whose thighs had been 
amputated I was the only one left alive. Every morning 
the surgeon told me to keep still. I obeyed him as well I 
could, but it was terribly hard. 

The Cliffborn Hospital was made up of twelve wards, 
each containing eighty patients. The bed clothing con- 
sisted of a mattress, pillow, white sheets and woolen blank- 
ets. The patients lay on single beds, with their heads 
towards the wall on both sides of the building. A passage 
way at their feet ran the whole length of the room. There 
was plenty of space between the beds for the nurses to 
pass around among the patients. There was a surgeon 
over the whole hospital, and, besides, there was a surgeon 



for each ward. One evening about nine o'clock, after I 
had been in the hospital about a month, the ward master 
sent two nurses to rub my back. After they had left me 
my wound pained me more than usual, and I made so much 
noise on account of the pain that the ward master heard 
me. On beins- told what the trouble was he said: "I 
knew those fellows would not leave your stump right." He 
then took hold of it with both hands and placed it in a 
different position, and I was instantly relieved. 

There was a man lying near me whose leg had been 
amputated about like mine. It was said he had five 
wounds in his body and limbs. The surgeon was trying to 
get up his strength so that his arm could be amputated. 
He had been on the bed four weeks. I then thought that 
I could not lie on my back four weeks, but I did lie three 
months. The ward master took great pains with this 
patient, calling him a plucky fellow. One afternoon he 
asked for a cigar. It was given him, and he seemed to 
enjoy it very much. The same evening I heard him say: 
" I can't stand it." He died during the night. The man 
lying on my left who had had his arm amputated, also died. 
The surgeon said there was nothing the matter with him. 
He simply worried himself to death. He had a wife and 
several children at home. 

The Sanitary Commission Agents of the different states 
came to the hospital to look after the patients coming from 
their respective states. The agent from New York kindly 
offered to assist me, though I came from Massachusetts, 
and though the Massachusetts agent had previously made 


arrangements to get certain things for me. These agents 
furnished us with bandages, lint, writing material, postage 
stamps, or anything else we needed. The Massachusetts 
agent gave me his address and told me to send for him if I 
wanted anything. One morning, when my wound was 
being dressed, it was found that there was no lint or band- 
ages in the hospital. I sent word to the agent, and in the 
afternoon received from him a large box full of lint. At 
the request of the ward master I furnished lint for some of 
the worst cases. They had to tear up good sheets for 
bandages. It took four or five men to take me off the bed 
when the bed clothes were changed. They had me sit by 
the stove, wrapped up in blankets. They did this a num- 
ber of times, but finally had to give it up, for the exertion 
was too much for me. I was not allowed to read and had 
to keep perfectly quiet, a very difficult thing to do. One 
evening one of the convalescent patients had a box from 
home full of good things. Several ate these good things 
at the foot of my bed — to tempt me to eat something I 
suppose. Among other things they had baked potatoes and 
boiled onions. The next morning I asked for baked pota- 
toes and boiled onions, which were sent to me, together 
with a juicy steak. That was the first time I had eaten 
anything that I relished for about three weeks. After that 
I ate more and drank less London porter and milk punch, 
The porter, by the way, was taken from me all at once, — a 
thing which I did not like very well, for I had been having 
it every day for several weeks. So I had my brother bring 
me a bottle when he came from Washington. I put it in 


the bed so that the nurse could not see it. I soon stopped 
drinking it, however. 

The Sisters of Charity had charge of the worst cases in 
the hospital. When a soldier died the face of some sister 
was the last thing he saw in this world. The one who at- 
tended to me used to come the first thing in the morning 
and bathe my face with bay rum. She then would comb 
my hair and give me milk punch or anything else that I 
wanted to eat. She called to see me a number of times in 
the course of the day One afternoon when I was very 
low I told the sister that I was going to get some crutches 
and come down to meet her in the morning. I wanted to 
take my mind from the terrible condition I was in, if possi- 
ble. That night I was told to say my prayers. When the 
attendants came in the morning they stood at the bed a 
few moments to see if I was alive. The sister came quick- 
ly to the head of the bed and said : " Mr. Fletcher, I 
thought you were coming to meet me this morning on 
crutches." She said it in such a pleasant way that I 
almost forgot that I was sick. I told her that I had put it 
off till some future day. 

One day the sister asked me if I had been christened. I 
told her I had. Every morning and night I sent up an 
earnest petition to the Almighty to help our cause, to 
enable us to put down the rebellion and to permit me to 
live to see the end of the war. I felt stronger after offer- 
ing my prayers. Perhaps they saved my life. I fear I did 
not pray very much when I had a sound body and good 
rifle, and plenty of powder and balls. At all events, I 


called on my Maker to help me and our cause, when I 
could do nothing to help the cause of the Union myself. 
All my wishes were gratified, and I fully believe that the 
Almighty was on our side. At times I had spells of crying 
like a child. I was in great distress, and there was not 
much prospect of being any better. At such times I 
would cover up my face with the sheet so that no one could 
see me. 

At one time one of the men who was able to be about 
accused the sister of stealing his pipe, and used abusive 
language to her. He was tried by court martial and sen- 
tenced to have a shower bath, which was considered a 
severe punishment. The sister interfered in his behalf and 
had him released. 

All the nurses in the hospital, except the Sisters of 
Charity, were United States soldiers. The surgeons, also, 
belonged to the army. Finally the ward master got out of 
patience with me. I had been confined to my bed for two 
months or more and did not seem to get any better or worse. 
One morning he had hold of my stump with both hands, 
when he raised it about two inches and let it drop suddenly 
and said: " Fletcher you will neither live nor die." My 
leg pained me terribly, and if I had been able to get up, I 
should have been tempted to knock him down. At another 
time a consultation on my case was held by three surgeons, 
the ward surgeon, the surgeon of the hospital and another 
surgeon still higher in authority, I thought, though I did 
not know who he was. They stood at the foot of my bed 
talking and looking at me. I was very low at the time and 


my eyes were closed. The surgeon of the hospital said : 
" Fletcher, look up at me. Your eyes look bright. I'll 
venture they can't kill you with a sledge hammer." 
As they stood there talking, a man they called " Stumpy," 
came along and asked the head surgeon if he could not go 
home. "Go home!" said the surgeon, "What do you want 
to go home for? to go on a drunk? No! Stay where you 
are." Poor "Stumpy" didn't say any more. 

" Stumpy" was a soldier who had had his arm amputated 
above the elbow. The stump did not pain him, but the 
part that was gone did, and there was no way to relieve 
him. His stump healed very well. I do not know what 
became of him, for I was so low and week at the time that 
I did not inquire. The nurses and others in the hospital 
laughed at him a good deal, because he said that the part 
of the arm that was gone pained him. 

One day a large, heavy soldier whose thigh had been 
amputated much as mine had been, came to see me. He 
was on crutches and said he had been confined to his bed 
but four weeks. The wound had not completely healed 
but was very comfortable, and the man looked well. One 
day the ward master was taken sick. We all felt his 
absence very much, especially myself, for none of the 
nurses could do as well as he. At one time no one but 
he could dress my wound without giving me great pain. 

The last of December, 1862, my brother, Theodore, said 
he would have to go home. I was much better but still 
confined to my bed. I said I was going with him. The 
nurses in the ward said I would never live to get there. 


I asked Theodore to consult the head surgeon about the 
matter. He said it would not hurt me at all, but would do 
me good. I tried to get a furlough. The authorities were 
ready to give me my discharge, but not a furlough. A 
week before I started for home I was moved to another 
hospital, called Lincoln Hospital. One morning while I 
was there, a man was brought in who had lost his foot by 
amputation. He heard me speak and then called me by 
name. I did not recognize him at first. It was Booth of 
our company He wanted to know how I was getting along. 
I told him "First rate," but had had a distressing time of it 
to pull through. He was getting better. His mother came 
out to see him after he arrived at the hospital. It was he 
that I spoke of as being wounded at Bull Run, at the time 
when the lieutenant would not let me go back and help him 
to the rear. He recovered and afterwards lived at Philadel- 
phia. When I left for home the surgeons asked me to 
write and let them know how I stood the journey. 

I had to lie on a bed all the way. We went in the cars 
to New York, and then took the boat to Fall River, and 
then the cars again to Boston. Theodore managed to get 
my discharge papers after trying for about a week. He had 
to get papers from my company, and then go to half a dozen 
different places in Washington before everything was ar- 
ranged. I obtained an equivalent for those things that I 
was entitled to and had not received. 

On our way home we had to cross the Susquehannah at 
Havre de Grace on a ferry boat. I was placed near a stove, 
where it was warm. There was quite a number of ladies on 


board the boat. Before we had crossed the river some 
called out, "There lies a Union soldier who has lost his leg 
in the war." Some of the ladies held their handkerchiefs to 
their faces, and I could see tears in their eyes as they looked 
at me. 

At Philadelphia I bought an air bed of a man who had 
lost both feet. His home was in this city; so he had no 
further use for it. I found this bed much more comfortable 
than the one I had. On the boat from New York I 
was placed near the stove, so as to keep warm. Theodore 
secured a mattress and lay down near me. He gave me 
some morphine, which had been furnished by the hospital, 
and I slept fairly well. Still I awoke several times, and I 
always found Theodore sitting up on his mattress, looking 
at me. He wanted to see how I was getting along, he said. 
I told him I was all right, and advised him to go to sleep. 

At Fall River we missed a train. There was another 
wounded man traveling on a bed, and he was put on the 
train first. I had just been brought into the station, when 
the train started out. Missing the train made it necessary 
for us to stay in Boston over night, so that we did not reach 
home until January 2. We arrived in Boston soon after 
dark, New Year's Day, 1863. We passed the night very 
comfortably at a hotel; after supper we had a long talk 
about the war and country, and various other things. 

In order to have plenty of time we did not start from 
Boston till the second train. The Fitchburg Railroad, for 
our special benefit, attached to the train a freight car with 
a stove in it. They did not make any extra charge. Arriv- 


ing at the railroad station in Boston, the first man I saw 
from Littleton was Deacon Hall. I took my hand from 
under the bed clothes to shake hands with him. "Don't 
take your hand out. You will take cold," he said. I told 
him I was going to shake hands with him anyway. 

I made the journey to West Acton very comfortably, and 
was carried from the station there to my brother's in an ex- 
press wagon. I had been in the United States' Army for 
the suppression of the Rebellion one year and six months, 
lacking one day. I was in the following battles : The sie°-e 
of Yorkstown, Williamsburg, Fair Oak, Peach Orchard, 
Savage Station, White Oak Swamp, Glendale, Malvern 
Hill, first and second Bull Run, and Chantilly. 




In my opinion General George B. McClellan was the 
best general this country has produced, with the exception 
of Washington. Not only was he a great general, but he 
was a true patriot as well. 

When the war broke out, he was president of the Balti- 
more & Mississippi Railroad, with a salary of $10,000 a 
year. He had recently married, and had a very pleasant 
home. He left all, however, to fight for his country. 

After his brilliant campaign in West Virginia, he was 
appointed to command all the armies of the United States. 
His services to his country in organizing the Army of the 
Potomac cannot be overestimated, and for this alone he 
would be entitled to the gratitude of future ages. 

In the spring of 1855 the general government sent three 
officers, of whom McClellan was one, to Europe, to study 
the changes made in military science, and to report on 
those changes. They were instructed to pay attention to 
every detail of the whole art of war. 

The British Government extended to them every cour- 
tesy. From the French and Russians, however, they 
could obtain no facilities. They were received in the 
Crimea with soldierly kindness by General Simpson, the 


British commander. Here they had ample opportunity 
for the study of military operations on a grand scale. 

Leaving the Crimea in November these American of- 
ficers visited the various European states, examining very 
many military posts and fortifications noted in history 
McClellan's report, in the words of a distinguished soldier, 
was "a model of conciseness and accurate information," 
and added to his already brilliant reputation. 

Of McClellan's campaign in West Virginia, his organi- 
zation of the Army of the Potomac, and his appointment as 
general-in-chief, we have already spoken. Under his lead- 
ership we have the victories of New Orleans, Fort Pulaska, 
victories in North Carolina under Burnside, capture of Forts 
Henry and Donaldson by Grant, the taking of Nashville 
and the Battle of Shiloh, the Peninsular Campaign and the 
Battle of Antietam. He had to fight the rebel army when 
it was in its prime, and always defeated it. 

After the battle of Second Bull Run, when the Presi- 
dent thought of putting Burnside in command of the Army 
of the Potomac, Burnside remarked that he could not 
handle so large an army, and that no one could so well as 

General O. O. Howard, upon hearing of the removal of 
McClellan, expressed his surprise and extreme regret. 
Howard was in the Peninsular Campaign, and lost an arm 
at Fair Oaks. 

General A. P Martin said McClellan would have ended 
the war in 1862, if he had not been removed from the 
command of the army. 


General McClellan was very popular with both officers 
and men, and he had the rare quality of discovering the 
abilities of his officers. In fact, Colonel Clark, Com- 
missary of the Army of the Potomac, General Hunt, 
Chief of Artillery, and Colonel Ingalls, Chief of Quarter- 
master, all of whom were appointed by McClellan, served 
in their respective positions till the close of the war. 

One day McClellan saw Lieutenant G. A. Custer, of the 
5th U. S. Cavalry, manoeuvre on the field of battle, and 
was so much pleased with his operations that he put him 
on his staff. 

General Meade was promoted after Antietam at the sug- 
gestion of McClellan. 

McClellan always looked out for the privates, and did 
not have them make forced marches, or do anything else 
that was disagreeable, until the President interferred. 

McClellan was careful to look out for everything him- 
self. During the Seven Days' Fight he was in the sad- 
dle most of the time, day and night. In a private letter to 
his wife, at this time, he writes: ''I am all but tired out. 
No sleep for two nights and none to-night." 

McClellan's plan in 1862 was to goto Richmond by way 
of the Peninsular with an army of 150,000 men and 600 
cannon, draw there most of the rebel forces, fight one big 
battle and end the war at once. In the opinion of the 
best military critics he would have succeeded, had he not 
been interfered with by the authorities at Washington. In 
fact, John T Morse, Jr., in his "Life of Lincoln," admits 
that if McDowell had reinforced McClellan instead of go- 


ing on a wild goose chase after Stonewall Jackson in t ie 
Shenandoah Valley, McClellan would probably have 

Gen. Sherman was a warm admirer of McClellan. In a 
letter to his brother, Senator Sherman, dated Feb. 23, 
1 862, he says : " Don't make war on McClellan. You mis- 
take him if you underrate him." In January, 1863. Gen. 
Sherman again writes : "You have driven off McClellan. 
Is Burnside any better?" Again in February, 1863, he 
writes : " The press have now killed McClellan, Buell, Fitz- 
John Porter, Sumner, Franklin, and Burnside. Add my 
name and I am not ashamed of the association." 

McClellan made everybody work, and he worked him- 
self. When we were not on the march we had to drill. 
After a long march we usually rested a day, consequently 
the troops were always in good condition for a fight. 

Many thought McClellan was slow in moving his army, 
but no one has any idea of the amount of work there was 
to drill, arm and equip the Army of the Potomac. 
McClellan started on the Peninsular Campaign about two 
months sooner than Grant did his campaign in 1864. No 
general could accomplish much in winter in Virginia on 
account of rain and mud. 

No general did mure for the Union cause than " Little 
Mac," and he should stand first among; our generals in the 
heart of every true American.